Male announcer: You're listening to the Miles to Go Podcast, the go-to source for travel tips, news and reviews you can't afford to miss. Now, here's your host, travel expert Ed Pizza.
Ed Pizza: Hey, guys, so the Dots, Lines & Destinations guys sort of let me handle the controls here for a little bit, which may be dangerous, but you are listening to the Miles to Go Podcast, and we're doing a little bit of a crossover episode this week. I hope today's show is going to be a fun one. We're absolutely going to go off the rails. This is an idea I've been trying to put together for a while, but schedules and any number of headaches really got in the way.
I was writing up a script before we got started and I put the word inspiration in, which will be a head scratcher for all the other guests of the show today, but lest it go to their heads, the crew I have on my show this week, and we're doing this Dots, Lines, & Destinations crossover, these three guys were actually the yes, inspiration, for me to start my own podcast. Back then when I started listening to you guys, there was actually four co-hosts. Nowadays, it's just three. Fozz Mahmud, Seth Miller and Stephan Segraves from Dots, Lines, & Destinations are the crew of three now. Hey, guys. Welcome to Miles to Go.
Seth Miller: Hello.
Fozz Mahmud: Thanks.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, thanks for having us.
Ed Pizza: And for my listeners, if you're not familiar with Dots, Lines & Destinations, it is a travel podcast that frequently goes off the rails, but while at the same time digging deep into the travel industry. I won't even try to summarize how many millions of miles these three guys have flown, or how much free booze has been consumed in the process.
Seth Miller: Complimentary. It's never free.
Ed Pizza: Inclusive.
Seth Miller: Inclusive, there you go.
Ed Pizza: So before we get too deep into it, and I understand some of your listeners have probably been here since the beginning, but since I wasn't even here in the beginning of Dots, Lines, do you guys want to just summarize for my listeners sort of how the show got started? It wasn't always called Dots, Lines & Destinations.
Stephan Segraves: I can do that, so I guess we started, what? Nine years ago? Fozz was on a previous podcast even before this one, called Upgrade, and we had the idea, when that podcast ended, of doing a show and we called it Points Hoarder because we were focusing on points, even though we never really hoarded points, or maybe I'm the only one that hoarded points, or I don't know.
Seth Miller: It was supposed to be ironical.
Stephan Segraves: Yes, yes, and so we started talking more along the travel lines, and it veers into aviation mostly, though I think there's travel stuff that we're interested in that we talk about pretty frequently.
Seth Miller: Yeah, I can tell you that we actually rebranded DLD almost exactly seven years ago.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, I mean, it's crazy to think about, really.
Seth Miller: Yeah, because we did it on our Island Hopper venture, which was the MH370 day, which was seven years ago earlier this month.
Ed Pizza: Wow!
Seth Miller: Yeah, that was a weird episode.
Ed Pizza: I remember when it changed over but boy, gosh, I mean I know I'm old, but seven years.
Stephan Segraves: I'm just doing the math in my head on how old I was when we started that.
Fozz Mahmud: That was seven years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.
Ed Pizza: Well, and in a testimony to how inspirational you guys were, it took me over four years of listening to your show to start my own.
Fozz Mahmud: It took you four years to realize, "Man, this has gone off the rails."
Seth Miller: crosstalk step in and try something a little better controlled than these guys?
Stephan Segraves: I can do better.
Ed Pizza: Oh, man. All right, so as I said earlier, we're going to follow the Dots, Lines format as opposed to my standard Miles to Go show, so for my listeners, if you enjoy this week's episode, that means you should definitely hit the Subscribe button on the Dots, Lines show, and don't worry, I will drop a link into the show notes for that. And with that, I'm officially out of script, so I'm going to turn the steering wheel over to the gang for a bit, and we've got a bunch of geeky stuff to cover.
Seth Miller: Can we do our preemptive apology to those of your listeners that suffer through this and are like, "What the hell just happened?"
Ed Pizza: Well, they've suffered through you before, but they've never suffered through a whole Dots, Lines & Destinations, so maybe-
Seth Miller: It accumulates with the magnitude, Ed. It gets way worse with all of us.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I probably should have had you back on before this just so there was sort of a build-up to it.
Seth Miller: To warm it up?
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Yeah.
Fozz Mahmud: Just remember, Stephan's the adult.
Stephan Segraves: Sometimes.
Ed Pizza: We're grading on a curve, right?
Seth Miller: Yes, of course.
Ed Pizza: So when we're talking about a travel show, we're talking about traveling the world and experiencing everything that the world has to offer, there really is no better place to start than Cancun, right?
Seth Miller: Fly me to Cancun. Sorry, there was a whole bit of Fly Me To The Moon, fly me to Cancun bit when Cruz made his trip. Anyway.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, we're not off the rails at all.
Fozz Mahmud: Seth is singing, so that's a good sign. crosstalk
Ed Pizza: It's a great sign.
Stephan Segraves: Five minutes?
Ed Pizza: Seth, this was your first contribution to the show and I hadn't heard about this, but apparently the state of Quintana Roo, which covers Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, will now charge you an extra 11 bucks a pop as a departure tax, huh?
Seth Miller: Yeah, because, I mean, tourism numbers are up or strong and it's hard to say if they're necessarily up, but it's definitely one of the strongest American markets right now for international travel, really any leisure travel, so why not try to cash in on that 10 or 11 bucks a head?
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and I mean, I don't know. I mean, these sorts of things, I get it. There's so many Americans that are going to Cancun and to Mexico in general right now, but I mean, it just seems like a very short-sighted way of thinking, in my opinion. I mean, this is not a fee that you see everybody charging in Mexico and the Caribbean, so is it small enough that people just won't care?
Seth Miller: I would start with slightly challenging your "It's not something that we see everybody doing" premise there. There's a lot of markets that are like, "Hey, tourists are easy to charge money to. They don't vote here, we may as well take their cash."
Ed Pizza: Sure, but then why not just increase the hotel tax? I mean, you got to create a website and you got to charge people. There's all kinds of stuff that you have to do if you're going to do this as opposed to just saying, "Well, sure, let's just charge another couple 100 pesos a day on hotel rates."
Seth Miller: Yeah, and honestly, I probably would have included it in the airport departure tax, although I'm not sure they could do it just for certain airports as easily. That would be another sort of less overhead way to do the charges but yeah crosstalk
Ed Pizza: They're not going to do it based on the ticket? Like they're not-
Seth Miller: It's not a percentage. It's a flat fee.
Ed Pizza: And they're not doing it as part of the ticket, like literally charging it as an add-on to the ticket price?
Seth Miller: No, it's a separate transaction you have to do.
Ed Pizza: Oh, that's a pain. In other words, you have to present a ticket at the airport. You have to print a receipt at the airport that you've paid online, and if you don't have that, then you have to buy it at the airport.
Stephan Segraves: It's like what Panama used to do.
Seth Miller: Yeah.
Stephan Segraves: Go down there.
Seth Miller: I mean, lots of places used to do it in person. I think we did that in Palau when we visited 15-16 years ago for our honeymoon, or it was right after. They changed it, it was something like that, but-
Ed Pizza: Ecuador did it for a while, too.
Seth Miller: Yeah, on the one hand, the government feels completely in control of the money and especially if the government fully controls it and isn't contracting for anyone, then it's much easier to sort of move the money directly into whatever fund that they want to skim from, but no, it's one of many places, especially in the Caribbean, that is riding that tourism cash cow, right? I mean, there's an interesting debate between, Ed, as you said, sort of "Why don't we just increase the room tax or some other number a little bit more, or just trust that if you make it a little cheaper to be here, people will spend more money when they're on the ground?"
That's a tough one because maybe a $60 or $70 departure tax, which is not uncommon in some of the Caribbean Islands, is too far, but $10 is okay. I'm not sure what the right number is there. Can you guarantee an extra $10 in tequila spending from every tourist that visits?
Stephan Segraves: But that wouldn't be money straight to the government coffers, right? That's the drawback to that.
Seth Miller: Well, right, so it's got to be $100 per person in spending to get to $10, right, whatever the tax rate is, so there's some interesting challenges there. I don't know, but overall I tend to think there is probably a sweet spot somewhere in the middle where you're not raising the price so much that people are going to not show up, and also truly by making it a separate transaction, the airlines don't get as pissy with you about making their prices look higher. The hotels don't get as pissy with you about making their prices look higher. You just have that confused passenger at the airport that's like, "What do you mean, I have to pay to leave?"
Ed Pizza: Well, I get that when the fee's 60 or 70 bucks, but I mean, you're talking the fee is $11 when you convert it from pesos. So if the average stay is, call it four nights, it's two bucks a night at your hotel, $2.50. I mean, this isn't a bottom line mover at those sorts of numbers.
Seth Miller: No, but they also are charging it per person, so not the room.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, no, all right, fair point.
Seth Miller: So it's 10 bucks a room night instead.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, it's still not significant to create all the infrastructure they're creating. I mean, there's going to be a cost to all of that but, I don't know, it just seems like an inefficient way.
Stephan Segraves: But someone's cousin gets work by building the infrastructure.
Ed Pizza: True, many cousins.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, exactly.
Fozz Mahmud: I'm just going to say, there is an airline that flies between Cancun and Cozumel and you can fly out of Cozumel to these places.
Seth Miller: Is Cozumel not also in Quintana Roo?
Ed Pizza: No, it is Quintana Roo. Yeah, good call. Dang it! crosstalk
Seth Miller: Can you take the domestic flight up to Tijuana, walk across the border and then fly to San Diego?
Fozz Mahmud: Exactly.
Ed Pizza: To save $10 a person.
Fozz Mahmud: Yeah, you can walk over the bridge.
Seth Miller: To be fair, the fee to use the bridge is more than $10.
Ed Pizza: Yes it is, yeah. crosstalk All right, so speaking of bridges, we almost had a bridge to Europe but Iceland is open for business for US residents, but only as far as Iceland. You can't use it as a transit point. Still, I think Stephan, you were the one that tagged the story. I think it's interesting, premature, but I mean, a little surprising.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, I was talking with the guys about this and someone had just said it's already open.
Ed Pizza: It is, yeah. One of the bloggers that we know, Andy from Andy's Travels blog, is already there taking pictures of the volcanic eruption.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, I mean, it's fascinating because they've said it wasn't going to happen till the 26th, I believe, of this month, so I guess they're just like, "Eh, whatever." To me it raises some interesting questions about one, what's it take to get in? I think Andy just used his quarantine card, which doesn't match up with what the government website says.
Seth Miller: Vaccine card.
Stephan Segraves: Vaccine card, which doesn't match up with what the government website says. The government website says you basically need the WHO yellow card from a doctor. It doesn't sound like that's the case, and I wonder how quickly it's going to become inundated. It's really hard to get there right now from the United States because no one's flying non-stop from the US, and Iceland Air isn't starting up flights from most of their West Coast or Central US destinations until the summer, so everything's via Europe, so I don't know how Andy got there, but I would be fascinated. I'm going to have to go read his blog now.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I didn't look that up either. Yeah, I wonder how he did get there.
Seth Miller: Yeah, I mean, well, don't forget, the Wizz Air flight landed as that volcano was erupting so there's definitely options.
Stephan Segraves: Well, that's the other thing, too. Now there's a volcano and it's causing some headaches for flights departing and arriving.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and I mean, I heard that there was an eruption and I saw some of the pictures. I wouldn't say it's massive Mt. Etna-style just yet, but it seems pretty sizeable. I do wonder if we're going to have some of the issues that we had so many years ago. I mean, obviously that's a fairly big chunk of the air space to get from the US to Europe. I guess given there's so few flights right now, maybe it's not as big an issue to reroute folks.
Fozz Mahmud: Yeah, I was secretly hoping you were going to try to pronounce that old volcano, I don't know, on the show.
Ed Pizza: No. No, no, no. No, no, no. No, remember, this is a scripted show. Oh, wait, maybe it's not.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, I mean, I think right now it seems like it's a pretty tame volcano and so I know there's been some ash cloud kind of reroutes around southern parts of Iceland because it's really close to Reykjavik is where the volcano is, and so I know there's been some reroutes around that but I haven't seen anything major stopping traffic going to Europe, which is good. I don't know, would you guys go to Iceland during all this, with the pandemic not really being over yet? Would you make the trip?
Seth Miller: I mean, one of the factors about it that makes it compelling is they are limiting it only to vaccinated or if you spend the time in quarantine like you always have, and always is relative.
Stephan Segraves: Or proof of previous infection.
Seth Miller: Ah, yes, because then you're also considered healthy again.
Stephan Segraves: Yes.
Seth Miller: I think we're back to, from my perspective, the same point that I was every time we talk about this travel, which is I don't really like the idea of traveling right now until I know that more people are vaccinated and be a potential burden on the system, even though I know I am, are all the flight attendants or many of the flight attendants have that option yet? No. Do the hotel workers or whatever? Maybe in Iceland that stuff is better, but it's hard for me to say.
Ed Pizza: So let's talk a little bit about where flights are going for the moment, and schedules, because it was one of the topics I want to check in on when we were going to do an episode together. And I don't want to taint the discussion, and I know I won't with you guys because you'll tell me if you think I'm wrong, every single time I'm wrong, but I was looking at some-
Seth Miller: You're wrong, Ed.
Ed Pizza: Thank you, thank you. Couldn't have seen that one coming. I got to remember not to pitch softballs.
Seth Miller: You kind of walked right into it.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Yeah. You pitch softball, somebody's going to hit it out of the park on this show. So Cranky Flier has been doing these updates on a weekly basis of all the various airlines and how they're cutting up frequencies and dumping capacity. And the last couple updates for April, May, June, were surprising to me because largely we believe that business travel hasn't really returned in any meaningful way, but it seems like the airlines are anywhere in the 20% to 30% capacity cuts from their 2019 numbers. I don't know, it doesn't feel like we're at 70% of the 2019 numbers yet. Am I off-base here?
Seth Miller: It doesn't feel that way in terms of the number of seats flying, or where the planes are going?
Ed Pizza: The demand. I know there's leisure demand, but essentially if the airlines can fly 70% of their capacity reasonably full, that means that only 30% of the people that traveled in April of '19 were business travelers? Or there's that much more leisure travel today?
Fozz Mahmud: I mean, so I think there's some qualifications we can make, right, so jets are flying, so capacity is there. It doesn't mean demand's there. I think if you look tonight, KLM is flying a bunch of destinations out of the United States to Amsterdam. Guaranteed those flights aren't full or half full.
Seth Miller: That's fair, but at the same time, I mean, the TSA screening numbers are running around 60% right now.
Stephan Segraves: True.
Seth Miller: Spring Break is huge. There's been some interesting patterns around holidays and all-caps Spring Break is a holiday even though that's stupid, and we're going into Easter, right? Easter is this coming weekend?
Ed Pizza: The following weekend. Yeah crosstalk April 2nd-ish.
Seth Miller: It's always one of the weekends of Passover and I never know which, sorry.
Stephan Segraves: April 4th.
Seth Miller: Okay, so it's the second week in a Passover this year. You're getting close to Easter and you've got Spring Break travel and there are some number of people now who are vaccinated and there's plenty of people that are like, "I stayed home all winter, f--- this, I'm going out there," or "I didn't stay home all winter and I still like traveling and so I'm going to keep doing me." There's all those things, but yeah, you're looking at 60-70% of two years ago now numbers, of March 2019. That's what I've been comparing. And thanks to the TSA, you can't do it correctly, but whatever.
Ed Pizza: Well, and March I kind of get, but when you get April and May, to me, was always one of those periods of the year. I mean, certainly not the first week April, because you still have some Spring Break hangover, but before you get to Memorial Day, that always struck me as, that's really a business travel sort of season. People aren't targeting the first week of May. Well all right, maybe Cinco de Mayo, but that's not typically like "Hey, this is where all the leisure travel goes."
That strikes me as one of those times where that's going to have a higher slant of business travelers, and then you got airlines like Alaska saying, "Hey, we're going to be at 80% of our May 2019 numbers." I was like, "Wow! That seems like a lot." And maybe some airlines have down-gauged, but I think Alaska's a good example of... They don't have a lot of gap in seats per plane, if you will.
Seth Miller: And the numbers usually, when they're talking about that is available seats or available seat miles, right, so it's not really... You can say they're down-gauging or whatever, but if they say they're running at 80% capacity, it's not that they took 20% of the planes out. It's they took 20% of the seat miles out, so it really is very close to full. I think what it really tells you is what the spread for the different airlines was on their typical amount of business travel. Alaska Airlines was much more leisure.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, well, and I kind of expected that with Alaska, but I mean, so American and maybe they'll adjust these numbers, but they posted a 23% drop from their May 2019 numbers. Do I really think American's going to be at 77% of their capacity in May? Man, I don't think so.
Seth Miller: How else are they going to pay off that $10 billion loan against the loyalty program.
Ed Pizza: Well, the market's good. You just refinance.
Seth Miller: I mean, that basically is the American approach.
Ed Pizza: Right, just refinance. Somebody else will give you a better rate. I mean, not that it was a great rate, like 6% or something like that?
Seth Miller: Yeah.
Ed Pizza: I wouldn't call that great corporate debt rate, but yeah, I don't know. I have a hard time wrapping my arms around that they're going to fly 80% of their schedule. It's sunnyside pricing and all that, but that they're going to fill that many seats in May.
Seth Miller: Well, one thing I'll say is May schedules definitely aren't final yet.
Ed Pizza: Sure.
Seth Miller: But there is a big push right now towards sort of riding the vaccine wave. Biden said that every state should be able to open vaccines to everyone by May 1st or something like that?
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and some states have gotten in there early. I do a bunch of travel to Vegas for work and they said they're going to open vaccines up to every Nevadan by April 15th, and maybe that will change things. I just crosstalk
Seth Miller: Good. Arizona opened it up today.
Ed Pizza: Oh, did they really?
Seth Miller: Yeah, I think sometime this week it's going to officially be open, but it's happening, so it's hard to believe in some ways. I think part of that is just the sort of hangover. How long have we been going through this?
Stephan Segraves: You know what all that is? Part of it is also very dependent on market basis, right? I've traveled a bit over the last six months and what I can tell you is, while flights in and out of Newark are full, when I've flown through Texas, the flights going in and out of Texas are packed, so depending on how locked down the states were, there's still rollover fallout from that, that's still going on.
Seth Miller: I was unpleasantly surprised how full Philadelphia was in the express terminal or whatever, flying through on American the other day.
Stephan Segraves: I am genuinely surprised at how hard it is to get to the East Coast from here in Portland. I mean, there's nothing non-stop right now, really. I think the DCA flight is running every other day. Other than that, it's pretty difficult.
Ed Pizza: Well, this is actually one of the topics that I had listed and I didn't have an article attached to it, so I forgot to include it in the list that I sent you guys, but I do wonder. It's very clear to me, when I look at the schedules, that they're geared towards what works for leisure folks and some of the routes that I fly frequently, they've started operating. And so for example, non-stop Vegas flights were off the books for a bit, and they're back on, but they're back on for a schedule that really doesn't work for a business traveler.
There's only two a day and I think the first departure's 10:45 in the morning, which essentially just blows the whole day in Vegas. As you said, Stephan, hard to get from the West Coast to the East Coast. I mean, it's going to be pretty hard for me to fly efficiently with the schedules that are out there. My gut tells me it's going to be awhile before business travelers are going to have efficient schedules for them to get places for meetings.
Seth Miller: I talked about this a couple weeks ago on an episode. I drove to New Jersey because I couldn't get a decent time flight. I mean, I absolutely agree that the business travel schedule in many markets sucks right now.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, and I think it's a challenge, right, for companies that are eventually going to go back. I don't think it's going to happen any time soon. Maybe by the summer some companies are going to have their traveling schedules back or asking people to travel again, and I think it's going to be a challenge if the airline schedules are the same as they are right now.
Seth Miller: Do we really think we're going to go back in masks, given how efficiently people have been able to work remotely over the last year?
Stephan Segraves: In my industry, people are going to be back.
Ed Pizza: Me, too. There's certainly going to be industries where it's not, but I mean, yeah. I think there are a lot of industries that are going to go back to the old pat... Maybe there'll be a few less trips, but I think you're going to see some industries come back almost as normal.
Seth Miller: I believe that we'll go back, but I think we'll see it 20%-30% reduction and that's a huge gap from where we were.
Stephan Segraves: I'm totally fine if the Apple employees and the IBM employees and the Intel employees, the Nike employees aren't on my flights anymore. I'm fine.
Seth Miller: You just want more upgrades.
Stephan Segraves: That's exactly it.
Ed Pizza: Well, heck, I mean crosstalk
Seth Miller: That was subtle, Stephan. Well played.
Ed Pizza: We all come from a time period where I can remember having discussions back on FlyerTalk in the days, where there were years as an Executive Platinum where I would miss one upgrade out of 80, 90, 100 flights, and those days obviously have disappeared, so like Stephan, I wouldn't mind if we went back to that time period. I sometimes went six, seven, eight months without missing an upgrade.
Stephan Segraves: Don't let him fool you, neither would Fozz. Fozz wouldn't mind it at all.
Seth Miller: I'm not saying otherwise.
Ed Pizza: But I do wonder, so Fozz, to your point, so let's say there's 20% or 30% trimmed out of the schedule for business travelers or folks who aren't traveling for business any longer, or they're taking less frequent trips. At some point you have this chicken and egg thing of, if they don't optimize the schedules for business, I will fly less because it'll take me longer to get places. So just by virtue of I want a certain number of days at home in between trips, if I lose a day traveling because of crappy flight times, I'm not going to all of a sudden decide I want to be away from home an extra 22 days a year because their schedules aren't efficient.
Fozz Mahmud: Right, I mean, the thing that I ponder and completely off the rails now-
Ed Pizza: Ooh, ponder, ooh! Big word.
Fozz Mahmud: Is what does this mean for the loyalty programs, right? The loyalty programs over the last five years have really pivoted to high revenue, getting the people who are spending, but if you're seeing a drop in your high-end packs, do you have to retool the programs?
Ed Pizza: Well, I mean, especially until fares go up again, obviously. I mean, I think it's sort of laughable that the airlines have elite qualifying dollar thresholds right now because I couldn't buy tickets expensive enough to hit them.
Fozz Mahmud: Oh, look at Newark-San Francisco.
Ed Pizza: No thanks. That's only you, all you.
Fozz Mahmud: But there's days when those seats are two grand apiece.
Ed Pizza: Wow!
Stephan Segraves: I was actually surprised to see the Boston-San Francisco on a 738 or 9 is completely packed, pretty much every day.
Ed Pizza: But there's not a lot of flights on that route. I won't say that route specifically, but I'll use a route that I used to fly regularly, Dallas-Denver, and when I first started flying that route, and my math might not be correct, but it'll be close. There were 11 flights a day between the two, there were multiple frequencies with 767s and triple 7s. I think there were two 76s and a triple-7. There were 75s. There were a lot of seats on that route, and now an average day is four or five frequencies and they're all narrow-bodies. The number of seats in between Dallas and Denver has dropped by, I don't know, 60-70%?
Seth Miller: Part of that is just a function of where they're trying to route people through the... Connecting flows have changed significantly.
Stephan Segraves: Well, that and pre-merger United used to do a lot of consolidator fares, right, and they don't do nearly as many as they used to, so that's why they were flying so many wide bodies during bumps.
Ed Pizza: Right, and that was pre-pandemic all the wide bodies were gone from Dallas-Denver, so it was down to all narrow-bodies. There weren't even any more 757s on the route so that the capacity had already been trimmed significantly and so now you took planes that had half the number of seats, and then you cut half of those routes. And there's still some, obviously, reasonable level travel that has to happen between those two hubs, and so it just fills up.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, and so back to Fozz's question, though, what are programs going to do, right? And you primarily fly United and American, right?
Ed Pizza: Well, and here's the bomb dropper. I applied for the Delta Reserve Amex. I was approved just a couple days ago. I haven't written about it for the blog yet, but I mean, until they stop blocking middle seats, if I started flying now, nobody can get me to Vegas in a timely manner, period, so I'm going to have to either connect on someone or lose most of the day. And if I can have a seat empty beside me, I may be a Delta guy because the value of the elite programs hold a lot less sway for me right now.
Fozz Mahmud: Yeah, I've been wondering if Alaska's the one that's doing it right. No qualifying dollars, right? There's no spend requirement really. Hopefully that stays. It's still mileage-based and their fares right now are dirt cheap. I mean, they're advertising $31 fares or $75 fares up and down the West Coast.
Seth Miller: And so if you're wondering why they're able to fill 80% of the seats that they did two years ago.
Fozz Mahmud: Exactly, and everybody's going to Phoenix, right? They're trying to get out of the rain, so everybody's going to Phoenix, Tucson.
Seth Miller: Yeah, one of the interesting things is, we talk a lot about the recovery and what it means in passenger numbers, but a huge part of what it means to have a recovered industry is also the dollars and those are definitely not tracking as close as the passenger numbers are. The passengers will come first and then the dollars.
That's how it always happens and if the passengers come back quickly enough, and more quickly than the airlines can get planes out of the desert and pilots and flight attendants off of furlough and re-certified and all those things, there will potentially be some spikes in fares, but I think there's potential for a sort of super spike in fares coming into this summer as the pent-up demand releases and then things settling down a little bit again.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I think there's definitely the potential for a spike. A lot of that's going to come down to what they decide to do with the planes they have parked. I mean, they can certainly drive fares a bit if they keep planes on the ground and don't ramp back up. I would argue that I think if you put all the planes back on the runways, I don't think they can fill that many at a premium any time soon.
Stephan Segraves: I mean, domestically that's all great. I'm curious to see what happens internationally because at the end of the day, that's the high-revenue stuff for the airlines.
Seth Miller: And that's where the big three US carriers and many of the international carriers are way more exposed, right? That's why you see Alaska is able to say it can get its capacity back up. Spirit and Frontier and those guys are actually going to be above 2019 numbers later this year in terms of capacity, but they don't fly long haul. They don't fly intercontinental, really.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and this was actually one of the topics I want to cover tonight, and selfishly, I'm going to focus on Dallas, my home airport for a second. I think when we looked at United's network, my personal opinion was that a lot of the flights that were out of Dallas were things that served connecting flow. I don't think there was enough O&D, Originating and Departing traffic, to cover all of these routes. There was a huge cut of international flights out of Dallas on United, and so just a quick list of destinations.
Amsterdam, Dublin, Edinburgh, Geneva, Lisbon, Beijing, Tokyo. Look, I mean, those are all places that I know people want to go to, but what are the chances that... Some of these flights, Geneva, Amsterdam crosstalk
Seth Miller: You can't go to half of them, so there's that.
Ed Pizza: Right, but even when you can, I think those flights were probably not super performers for United before. They probably did okay on them, but I mean, they need some sort of flow to those cities, but they probably aren't going to need wide-body flow to a lot of these places from Dallas specifically any time soon, so I just don't know what my airport looks like in two years.
Stephan Segraves: Well, Geneva was always driven by UN specifically, right?
Ed Pizza: Fair, good point. What about something like Edinburgh or Amsterdam?
Stephan Segraves: Edinburgh? You mean Edinburgh?
Seth Miller: How many different ways are you going to say the name of the lovely town in Scotland? This is fun.
Fozz Mahmud: Well, I mean, Edinburgh was a 75, right? Is it really that much of a loss?
Ed Pizza: No, it's not that. It's more like, do they operate that flight any time again in the near future?
Stephan Segraves: Yeah.
Fozz Mahmud: No.
Ed Pizza: Right, that's what I think-
Seth Miller: Maybe summer of 2022, if you're lucky, probably 2023. It had to be seasonal.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, it was always summer only, and it was always just for vacationers.
Ed Pizza: Sure, but I mean, I don't think that route comes back even summer-only for a while.
Stephan Segraves: It all comes back down to demand and how things play out, right? There's so many unknowns. If the UK opens up, right, truly opens up, and things are moving forward then demand could be there.
Seth Miller: There's definitely, I think, we talked about pent-up demand and we talked about Cancun at the beginning of the show. People want to get out and go somewhere, and I think people in a lot of ways don't care where it is, as long as it's somewhere, and I think the UK is a good example. If their vaccine rollout program continues to progress the way it is, and they start getting the second shots into people, I could see that being one of the first countries that is willing to allow Americans in and that we're willing to allow that level of reciprocity to.
Stephan Segraves: But there's a bigger thing to think about, right? It's great the country opens, but you also have to assume that all the things people want to go do are also open, right, the festivals and stuff that normally happen. There's a lot of things that need to play out for things to go back to-
Ed Pizza: Well, sure, and if you think about, and I don't disagree with what you said about say, the UK specifically and maybe any seasonal route, but considering if they still have, call it probably half a dozen European flights out of Dallas, so you got London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich. Brussels is still operating, Zurich, half a dozen places, just when do the other four or five really... Like when's the need as opposed to again, as you say, people want to go somewhere, but are there enough people willing to pay enough of a price to go enough Somewheres to bring a lot of these flights back? And they've already got a decent amount of flights for what today's levels are.
Seth Miller: Basically have the pre-merger European network at this point.
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Seth Miller: With the exception of Geneva.
Ed Pizza: I don't see, I mean, maybe United makes a move or some of the other airlines make a move and they say, "Look, Houston's not going to be our nonstop market to Europe." Maybe they're going to say the same thing about Dallas, I mean, push everything to Newark. Unlikely, because I don't think there's enough O&D out of Newark for United to be happy, but I'm just wondering. Maybe Houston they say, "Okay, well, we're going to fly Frankfurt and maybe Amsterdam. We need the corporate contracts, but nothing else." And they push all that traffic through Dallas. Maybe.
Stephan Segraves: But I mean, other than London, what other European routes? I don't think they're going to drop London from Houston.
Ed Pizza: No, I wouldn't think so, and Frankfurt and Munich, if Lufthansa's still a strong partner, I mean those make sense.
Stephan Segraves: And Dallas is at pre-merger, right? And most of the routes you're talking about were all seasonal.
Seth Miller: Yeah, and you still have to connect the entire Southeast to Europe somewhere.
Ed Pizza: You do, and look, I benefited from it. I felt like pre-COVID, United was over-indexed on total destinations. I mean, I could always find four premium reward seats somewhere in Europe from Dallas, pretty much 12 months a year between all the different destinations they had. It always felt like there was more capacity chasing not enough passengers.
Stephan Segraves: I mean, not to poop on your airport, but there's a reason.
Seth Miller: Wow!
Ed Pizza: And there we got it. 37 minutes into the show and Stephan's the first one to trash my home airport.
Stephan Segraves: I mean, I've flown to Dallas plenty. It was a great connection out of Montreal, but I mean, if it's my first choice of where I'm going to fly through to get to Europe, I'll pick somewhere else.
Fozz Mahmud: I would concur with that.
Stephan Segraves: I never know if Auntie Anne's is going to be open for dinner.
Ed Pizza: Hey, there's a Five Guys.
Seth Miller: In the other terminal.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, look, I understand it's not as pretty as say, the new Newark is, and we don't have all those wonderful dining options that Fozz loves so much at Newark crosstalk but I mean, again, I don't think the majority of people are choosing their connection point because of the quality of the connecting airport. I understand that we do things like that, but I think a lot of folks are either going to choose it based on pricing or overall schedule.
Stephan Segraves: Well, I think the overall schedule is the piece, Ed. Looking at schedules for me, where I come in from the West Coast, they were never great, right? It was always better for me or easier for me to go through Chicago or maybe Newark. That's how I wanted to connect.
Seth Miller: That's by design, right? Dallas is really for South Central US and the Southeast US.
Ed Pizza: Yeah.
Seth Miller: And really, at least for United, they want to minimize people connecting in Newark, because they have a fair bit of O&D traffic that can fill the seats so they were trying to push a lot of that to Dallas.
Stephan Segraves: And honestly, in some ways, South Central and Southeast are where the demand is strongest right now. Man, you said it, you passed through Texas and it was insane, right?
Seth Miller: Yeah.
Stephan Segraves: Those are the markets that are going to want to connect to Europe potentially, so I don't know. Maybe you see Dallas come back faster than you're expecting just because that's where the connections are. Now, United may siphon off some of that connecting flow via Newark a little longer than not, because it needs to still support the broader local traffic market and there's not quite as big a rebound in New York yet, but I could see, if you really are just looking at how the market recovers, and where those connections were, you could see a stronger rebound at Dallas to start.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I guess it depends on where they pick, because again, I think it goes back to that belief that United's always been a connecting hub, that it's not really about O&D for that travel, as you guys said. It's a way to relocate demand from Newark somewhere on the East Coast to allow people to connect. It's United's version of American's Charlotte hub, if you will, though I'd choose Dallas over Charlotte.
Stephan Segraves: There is O&D, definitely, but I think it's not nearly as much as some of the other airports.
Ed Pizza: Correct, yeah. I would say absolutely, there's certainly government contract O&D. I get it. There's the contractors, there's lobbyists, but the Newark market should be much more underpinned by corporate contracts than Dallas. I don't know that for certain, but I mean, the notional things I've heard about what it takes to qualify for global services at Newark versus Dallas, those sorts of things, and some of the corporate contracts I have heard about, it seems like there's a lot more supporting the Newark market than the Dallas market.
Stephan Segraves: I would agree with that.
Ed Pizza: So before we leave my home airport, which Stephan was so nice not to poop on, I want to pick one more thing. I just think it's interesting that American, in spinning up new service, has finally decided to start serving Dallas again in some way, shape or form, but they're somehow choosing not to do it from a hub and this is the reason why I went away. Stephan, you said I was an American flyer. I was an Executive Platinum flyer for 10 years and I gave it up because American slowly stopped flying from most of their hubs to Dallas.
They used to fly from Chicago, Dallas, LA, Miami, and back when they had a mini-hub in San Juan, they flew, San Juan-Dallas. And obviously they don't fly San Juan anymore. They don't fly Miami, they don't fly Chicago. They've got a daily LA, which I don't even know if it's running right now, and they've got Dallas-Fort Worth, but they're spinning up Austin to Dallas, which-
Stephan Segraves: When did that start?
Ed Pizza: Summertime?
Fozz Mahmud: Do they fly crosstalk
Seth Miller: That's Austin, my focus city.
Stephan Segraves: But do they fly National to Austin?
Ed Pizza: They don't?
Seth Miller: Do they? Maybe they do.
Ed Pizza: They would have to.
Seth Miller: Capital connector?
Ed Pizza: Well not just that, but Austin's a good market for them generally. I'd be surprised if they didn't fly it as we all hammer away on our browsers to look up DCA-Austin. But I've had this conversation with folks at American before and their comment to me has always been... I'm paraphrasing, but not inaudible "When we finish filling out National, we'll absolutely go overflow at Dallas," but they have no designs to really spin the airport up. So I guess okay, so you're focusing on Austin and you don't pick to fly to your hub? And I don't see non-stops. I see one-stops, so they're choosing not to fly a non-stop Austin-National and they're going to fly Austin-Dallas?
Stephan Segraves: That doesn't make sense to me.
Seth Miller: So A, Southwest does fly National to Austin. They hold that market as it were. I would bet it's tied entirely to corporate contracts and people that are going out to the defense contractors or whoever, the tech corridor. I don't know what the hell you guys call it in DCA.
Stephan Segraves: Dallas tollway.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, the Dallas tollway. The Silver Line.
Seth Miller: Soon, soon. crosstalk
Ed Pizza: We're building it.
Stephan Segraves: You're building it.
Seth Miller: Right, I think they started building it after O'Hare started fixing the rental car port shuttle crosstalk
Ed Pizza: Well, the real question is, did they start building the Silver Line to Dallas before or after this podcast started.
Seth Miller: So you're mad that we're talking too long.
Ed Pizza: No, I don't mean the episode, I mean the seven years crosstalk I think I'd go with the podcast, but I'm not sure.
Seth Miller: I think the podcast is older, but I'm not sure.
Ed Pizza: I think, yeah. I'll have to go back and look it up later.
Stephan Segraves: Are we talking about actual construction start or when the project was approved?
Ed Pizza: Oh, the project was approved when I moved down here. That was 25 years ago. No, no, we're talking about actual construction. Yeah, no, when I moved down here, I remember them telling me, "Oh, it's going to be great. There's going to be a train to the airport."
Fozz Mahmud: crosstalk by a train station.
Ed Pizza: That was '97, by the way, and I remember looking at a condo back then, that they said was going to be right by the metro stop that was going to be put there, and that metro stop is scheduled to open this year and that was '97, so that's only 24 years.
Seth Miller: Well, the original 1968 Metro Rail Plan included an eventual extension to Dallas Airport.
Ed Pizza: And they have delivered.
Seth Miller: -ish, -ish. Formal approval in 2004, construction in 2005-ish maybe?
Ed Pizza: All right, so the extension is older than the show.
Seth Miller: No, I'm sorry. Phase two contract was awarded in 2013, sorry.
Ed Pizza: That makes more sense, so it's right around the same time as when the show started.
Seth Miller: Yeah.
Fozz Mahmud: So I can give you three companies just looking at Google maps, Cisco, Lockheed-Martin, and Amazon Web Services are all right by Dallas.
Ed Pizza: There are a lot of companies right by Dallas. You think those companies have big presence in Austin as well?
Fozz Mahmud: They do, yeah. I know for a fact Cisco does. And Amazon does as well. Could be, I don't know. It's weird to me, still, even with the corp naming, unless there's a corporate contract. It would be surprising to me if those companies said, "Fly American."
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, because United was already flying that route.
Fozz Mahmud: Yeah, exactly.
Seth Miller: And also remember that DC slots are way more limited.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, they sure are. It's just weird and again, I'll get off the soapbox after this, but it's been one of those things where, since they got rid of Dallas-Chicago, you can't really live out my way and fly to the Midwest on American, because the way the schedules all go, you got to go down to Charlotte, and the connecting times make it... If I have to go to Fort Wayne or Peoria or any of those places, I just can't do it on American because I lose the whole day. I've got to backtrack down to Charlotte, connect, and make my way somewhere in the Midwest, which the schedules just aren't timed for it, so it's just weird.
Seth Miller: That's what you get for going to Peoria.
Ed Pizza: Look, some of us go to Peoria.
Fozz Mahmud: Delta, here you come, right? I mean crosstalk
Ed Pizza: Right, Delta's got Detroit and Minneapolis for me, so that'll be starting as soon as somebody shoves a vaccine in my arm.
Stephan Segraves: You'll get a good walk in at Detroit, too, a nice five-mile hike down that terminal.
Ed Pizza: That's okay, I'm a life-long Pistons fan so I'll enjoy seeing the Pistons gear hanging from the rafters. I'll be the only one enjoying the Pistons gear hanging from the rafters. So I think the last thing on my list, and I know Fozz has what he calls commentary, but I'll call a rant. I really feel like I should have known this, so we'll include this link in the show notes, but there was a story a couple of weeks ago about a Frontier flight where the de-icing didn't really happen and there was significant build-up on the wings of a Frontier plane. As described by some as a foot of ice and snow, which seems like a bit of an exaggeration to me, though I guess that's what could have been crosstalk
Seth Miller: If you look at the picture, it's hard to tell, but it's pretty thick.
Ed Pizza: Yeah. Look, don't get me wrong. I'm waiting for somebody to hit the softball over the fence. I understand that the plane doesn't have rear-view mirrors. I get it, but it didn't really sink into me that there's really nobody sort of auditing the edge of the wing if you will, after de-icing, to make sure it's actually clear.
Stephan Segraves: The same reason that the ground crew shows the pin when they pull it from the bottom of the plane.
Seth Miller: That's that guy under the nose gear holding the big thing with the inaudible
Ed Pizza: Yeah, explain that in more detail for people who aren't nerds like you.
Stephan Segraves: So I mean, there's some safety and security equipment, right, and that pin is basically he's showing, "Hey, I've verified that this is out and you can retract the gear."
Seth Miller: It prevents the nose gear from retracting, so when you're on the ground, you don't want it to accidentally collapse.
Stephan Segraves: Exactly.
Ed Pizza: It would be bad, right?
Stephan Segraves: So he's showing it to the pilot to say, "You're not going to get up in the air and have to turn right back around, do an emergency landing." It's a safety thing, right? It's accountability and I think the de-icing crew failed.
Seth Miller: Badly.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and so you take that thing with the pin as an example, and for the seven of my listeners that are still listening that now understand what the pin is for, I guess I wonder, does an episode like this lead toward discussion about, "Hey, there needs to be some sort of a clean view of the wing before you're released from de-icing?"
Stephan Segraves: That's a good question.
Ed Pizza: I mean, it's certainly achievable by a flight attendant. I'm not saying it's a necessary step, but it's certainly not a hard step to accomplish.
Seth Miller: Yes and no. I mean, there is the challenge of getting a pilot in the midst of everything else on the checklist to get up and walk out of the flight deck to go check that.
Ed Pizza: Well no, that's what I'm saying. What if you had a flight attendant, a flight attendant's responsibility. You're briefing the emergency exit rows, which is generally where the wings are anyway. It's like, "All right, well, part of being at the exit rows..." I mean, obviously that's not the right timing for every airport because they de-ice in different places, but would it be a reasonable use of the flight attendant's time to lean over and look out the window and see if they see ice on the wing? I mean, that was what the Colgan Air crash in Buffalo a number of years ago was because of ice on the wings.
Fozz Mahmud: But, I mean, the one wild card, I would say is right, will every flight attendant be able to do that effectively? Because the pilots will understand how much will impact the operation.
Seth Miller: Does it look like you can go make angels on the wing or not? Might not be a sufficient metric, I think is what Fozz is getting at.
Fozz Mahmud: Basically.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and I guess for folks who are listening who aren't aware, what's a good idea of a clean wing? How much debris can be on that leading edge before-
Seth Miller: Pretty much none.
Ed Pizza: Right, so that's what I'm saying. When they said there was a foot, I'm like, "Come on." I don't know that I've ever backed away from a gate with that much snow on the wings.
Seth Miller: Stephan are you thinking about your departure in Vilnius?
Stephan Segraves: Yes, airBaltic.
Seth Miller: Is it bad that I can pick which ridiculous stories Stephan wants to tell? That's how you know we've been doing this for almost 10 years.
Stephan Segraves: I mean, it was to the point that my friend and I that was sitting next to me, we both kind of looked at each other like, "Uh, they didn't de-ice us and there's ice on the wing." inaudible
Seth Miller: And I got some vaguely good news for you on your Peoria trips. If things go to plan and the DOT issues the small-city grant that the University of Illinois, Champaign Airport is requesting, I think it's $850,000, then that'll go into part of a $1.2 million grant program that they're trying to use to bribe American Airlines to fly non-stop to DCA, and from there it's a quick drive over to Peoria, so that might save you.
Stephan Segraves: But then he has to drive to DCA.
Ed Pizza: That's true.
Seth Miller: But it's a non-stop flight.
Ed Pizza: Check, please. Well, I mean, that flight might happen with that subsidy, but the reason why I didn't figure a Peoria flight would ever happen is, as far as I know, Caterpillar, which is the major business down there, they're moving their headquarters to Chicago, so most of what was going to Peoria probably isn't going to be going to and from Peoria anymore.
Seth Miller: Oops! The other one that's trying to do it is Springfield, Missouri, is similarly trying to bribe American to use one of its DC slots for service with a similar dollar figure, also seems very unlikely to me.
Ed Pizza: A lot of things seem unlikely now but gosh, I mean, I can't wait to see what the next six months bring. I'm insanely interested to see what routes come back and quite frankly, again because I'm a business traveler by nature, what these business travel schedules and prices are going to look like. I'm still not convinced I have any real clue what that's going to look like. Not that this is a surprise to anyone on the show with me that I have no clue.
Fozz Mahmud: I don't know if you want to talk more about de-icing, but I was just going to say, I really think it's a supervisor or the de-icing crew. Depending on where you're at, which city you're in, a lot of these de-icing operations take place at a pad just for de-icing, and typically there are supervisors out there and to me, it seems like it would make sense that, hey, the supervisor comes inaudible each plane and says, "Yeah, you're good to go." Checks off one, and there's an accountability there for that.
Stephan Segraves: You would think on a plane, because that incident happened in Nashville if I recall correctly, and someone in a place like Nashville, you would have even more supervision because they don't do it that often.
Seth Miller: Except they don't do it that often so they don't staff enough for it.
Stephan Segraves: And I realize that, but that's where you need more scrutiny, whereas something like Minneapolis, right, those guys know how to do it on a regular basis.
Ed Pizza: Denver has snow boilers out on the runway. They've got the whole de-icing and snow removal thing down pretty well.
Fozz Mahmud: Exactly, yeah. So I mean, to me it's a question of making sure people are trained and checked up on and made accountable for what they do.
Ed Pizza: I just would have thought that those procedures would have already been in place.
Seth Miller: That's the thing. It's like, okay, they're held accountable, but what does that mean when the plane crashes?
Stephan Segraves: That's what I was going to say, right? These guys, I believe the two people involved in this incident were held accountable, but had there been incident, what does that really do?
Ed Pizza: Well, at the risk of saying it prematurely, I'm going to do my quick Stephan Segraves imitation and say, "Well, I think that's a show, guys."
Stephan Segraves: Well, wait, we got to get Fozz's rant!
Ed Pizza: Oh, darn it, I forgot. Oh, Fozz, we're out of time. Gosh! No, we've got some bonus content for folks as well, so the Dots, Lines Patreon folks, which apparently I am one of, will want to stick around for that, but first and by the way, Stephan, it's commentary, not rant.
Fozz Mahmud: It actually is commentary. I don't have a rant.
Seth Miller: He's getting awfully worked up for a guy that's not ranting.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, it does happen.
Ed Pizza: Nobody wins. Nobody's hitting the Subscribe button, just want you to know that.
Stephan Segraves: Of course not, people are hitting Unsubscribe. It's how you think.
Fozz Mahmud: No, over the last few months I was renting cars, I've noticed something very peculiar. Previous renters are personalizing these cars. Like I had one a few weeks ago where someone just put bumper etchings on the car and Hertz didn't do anything about it. When I got to it, it had bumper etchings on the President's aisle. Had another one which had custom tint in it.
Ed Pizza: Custom tint?
Fozz Mahmud: Custom tint, like literally I get into this car, I'm like, "Is this someone's car?"
Ed Pizza: There's a little air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror?
Fozz Mahmud: There could have been.
Ed Pizza: Was this a warm weather city? Oh no, because cars can move around.
Fozz Mahmud: It did have Florida plates. There was another car with someone's apartment complex sticker in it.
Ed Pizza: What?
Fozz Mahmud: Seriously.
Ed Pizza: These were from real companies, right?
Fozz Mahmud: Yes.
Ed Pizza: Not like-
Seth Miller: Fly by night, shady.
Fozz Mahmud: No, one of the Big Three, one of the Big Three. And in some of the cities, they just don't have cars.
Ed Pizza: Yes, I've seen and heard that from a number. I've had this question come up a number of times in recent podcast episodes with folks who can't find rental cars.
Fozz Mahmud: I've had a couple times I'll go out there. There's not a single car out there.
Ed Pizza: Where are the cars?
Seth Miller: In people's apartment parking lots, didn't you hear?
Ed Pizza: And are they doing long-term rentals? Is that one of the ways that they're subsidizing the fleet right now, renting a car out to someone for a month or two?
Fozz Mahmud: That's possible. I mean, I partially believe that with all the people buying cars over the last year, they've probably sold a number of cars to liquidate some of their assets because they don't need-
Ed Pizza: And they bought them back?
Fozz Mahmud: Well-
Ed Pizza: Hey, can we get that Ford Focus back this week? We're going to need it.
Fozz Mahmud: Well, why wouldn't you at least go through the effort of taking that stuff off? That's the thing that surprises me.
Ed Pizza: Well, maybe they're just borrowing it for the week.
Fozz Mahmud: They're wetly inaudible without the rental car.
Stephan Segraves: Yeah, I was going to say, it's like a lease. They're leasing the cars out, they got a whole new program. You haven't even heard about it, it's so hip.
Ed Pizza: They're doing insurance replacement vehicles and letting people hold onto the cars, and then they just call them when they need it back for a weekend.
Fozz Mahmud: Yeah, maybe.
Ed Pizza: Look, they're helping out the environment.
Fozz Mahmud: Absolutely. It was just a very interesting observation and I just didn't know if anyone else had heard or experienced that, but I'm like, at least three cars I can think of where it was clearly personally marked.
Ed Pizza: That's bizarre. I don't think I've ever seen an apartment sticker in a rental car.
Fozz Mahmud: That and the bumper sticker were really the two, but the custom tinting was really confusing as well.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, I mean, if you told me it had Arizona or Vegas plates, I mean, like window tint is sort of like bottled water and sunscreen in Arizona and Las Vegas, but Florida, I don't know.
Fozz Mahmud: But this was beyond the normal tint.
Seth Miller: Did they have someone like their boyfriend or girlfriend's name above the top of the windshield, too?
Fozz Mahmud: It might have. No-
Ed Pizza: Mud flaps with the silver woman with the legs crossed?
Fozz Mahmud: No, two Florida cars, right next to each other, both Infinity QX50s, very different tinting. One was the standard, one clearly had this super dark at the top of the windshield and the back windows were really... You could barely see through them. Literally, because every once in a while I've gotten into a car which is clearly someone's personal car parked in the aisle where it shouldn't be and I got in, I'm like, "Is this someone's car?" I'm like, "There's a key here."
Ed Pizza: Wait, wait, wait, stop. I want to go back.
Seth Miller: I want to go back to every now and then you just accidentally get into someone's personal car in the rental car lot.
Ed Pizza: Are the keys in it?
Fozz Mahmud: No, because that's the thing that tells me that it's not really a rental car because there's no key in it.
Ed Pizza: Oh, I can't imagine getting in that. Man!
Fozz Mahmud: I think I need to lay off the patchouli. It generally is the scent that gives it away first, that it is not a rental.
Ed Pizza: I want a check, please. Do you guys want to tease the bonus content before we close stuff out?
Stephan Segraves: Sure. We're going to talk about meth being a hell of a drug and-
Seth Miller: Why don't we stop there?
Ed Pizza: Look at all the people clamoring for the Patreon button.
Stephan Segraves: And some Hong Kong cargo limits Seth wrote about.
Ed Pizza: Yeah, and I don't think I can do it justice to do it a second time, so Stephan, I think you got to close the show.
Stephan Segraves: Oh well, yeah. Thanks for listening. You can call us on Twitter @dotslines or dotslines.com. Thanks for listening. Happy travels.
Fozz Mahmud: Thank you.
Seth Miller: Thanks, Ed. I think.
Ed Pizza: Thanks, guys, for being on. That's a full wrap on this week's episode. You can find links to everything we discussed today in the show notes. A big thanks to all of you for tuning into this week's show. If any of you have questions or suggestions for a future show, you can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on social media, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, all @pizzainmotion. And you can find me blogging daily at pizzainmotion.com. Until we upload again, we've got Miles to Go.
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