Scottsdale, Arizona — cowboys and caviar

The first impression of Scottsdale, Arizona, is the diversity of attractions. The shopping alone provides an introduction to the something for everyone variety. Along with top-of-the-line stores are shops selling cowboy hats, boots and everything that’s worn between them. Even visitors who don’t buy whole hog into the cowboy theme find that casual attire is perfect for exploring the Sonoran Desert which surrounds the town.

Tipping lies cruise lines like to tell

"Prior to our most recent cruise, we always tipped generously — above and beyond what was recommended for individuals who showed extra initiative," says Greene, an author from Pensacola, Fla. But on her latest cruise on Oceania, she found a surprise charge on her final bill: it included a hefty, and automatic, tip for the crew. What gives?

What we’re reading: Pilot secrets, greener air at Sea-Tac, Portland’s urban winery

Secrets pilots won't tell you, greener air pumped into planes at Sea-Tac, Portland's urban winery

Releasing fee data to travel agents will help consumers and the economy

At a forum in Washington, DC, in the Rayburn House Office Building, consumers squared off against the airlines regarding airfare and airline fee transparency. Basically, consumers asked to be informed of how much the entire air travel package will cost at every point where the airlines choose to sell airline tickets. Consumers want to be able to compare prices across airlines including optional fees such as baggage and seat-reservation fees.
By |August 29th, 2013|Today|2 Comments|

What we’re reading: New Southwest routes, IAH: best US airport, Hello Kitty aircraft

Southwest adds new routes, business travelers names IAH best US airport, Hello Kitty themed aircraft coming to the US

Airline fees are not just for travelers — travel agents get dinged, too

We all know how airline fees are going straight up. It’s getting to be an axiom that if an airline can charge a fee, it will.

Increasingly, in the “misery loves company department,” the fees are not just for travelers themselves anymore — they are spreading the pain. Airlines have always charged travel agents for mistakes, known as “debit memos.”

But a more recent development is charging an additional fee on top of the mistake. British Airways, for example, charges agencies a $100 penalty per ticket PLUS whatever they deem the cost of the mistake to be. Sometimes airlines charge, well, just because they can.

By |August 28th, 2013|Today|5 Comments|

What we’re reading: AA’s record profits — again, new cruise laws proposed, JetBlue goes upscale

American Airlines (yes, bankrupt American Airlines) just reported a second quarter of record profits underscoring the Department of Justice's claim that they can fly on their own without a merger. Rockefeller proposed new cruise line laws to protect passengers. JetBlue decided to add premium seats to its planes for transcontinental flights.
By |August 28th, 2013|Today|2 Comments|

How travelers can challenge the industry’s “act of God” excuses

It’s the time of year when the travel industry likes to play the weather card. Couldn’t check into your hotel? Blame it on that distant tornado. Flight canceled? It’s the hurricane’s fault, even though it’s hundreds of miles away. A big repair bill for your rental car? Thank last week’s hailstorm.

Usually, the weather — often referred to as an “act of God” in a ticket contract — is a perfectly legitimate reason for a delay or a service interruption. But not always.

Shannon Duane remembers a recent US Airways flight from Jacksonville, Fla., to Charlotte on a holiday weekend. As she prepared to board, she saw a bolt of lightning across the airfield. The airline announced that it would delay boarding for another 15 minutes because of the thunderstorm.

What we’re reading: Delta warns on Obamacare costs, Top Labor Day destinations, Super-elite fliers

Impact on Delta Airlines (and your airfares) of Obamacare; Top Labor Day destinations according to Priceline purchases; Super-elite fliers get perks galore that smooth the turbulence of air travel.
By |August 27th, 2013|Today|0 Comments|

What we’re reading: Crash investigation infighting, Redundant cockpit doors? More Ryanair/Aer Lingus rulings

Friction escalates in air crash probe

Regulatory overload and overlapping jurisdictions make crash investigations more and more difficult. Once upon a time, crash investigators had the upper hand in releasing information. Today, the instant-information culture is making measured investigations more difficult and leads to delays in final findings.
Escalating public pressure for nearly instantaneous details about airliner incidents and accidents has shaken up the previously staid, traditional world of accident investigations. The safety board’s leaders increasingly are turning to Twitter to rush out details of significant findings —sometimes before advising on-site investigators of impending messages.

By |August 27th, 2013|Today|0 Comments|