Summer's not over yet, and a bevy of seasonal rail deals for Europe travel are available for the taking. Here are some of the best ones we've seen so far.
Free Day of Rail Travel
Buy any BritRail Pass or BritRail England Pass by August 31, travel within six months of purchase, and enjoy an extra day of pass validity at no extra cost. That's the current promotion from ACP Rail; you can buy direct or through your travel agent. ... read more»
Since beefing up consumer-protection rules in 2010, the number of citations issued against U.S. airlines by the Department of Transportation has nearly doubled.
That's according to the L.A. Times, which reviewed federal records for the 2010 - 2013 period.
After the more stringent rules were put in place, the average number of citations rose to an average of 54 per year, versus 28 per year previously. ... read more»
When Girard, a new restaurant in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, opens in September, its name will be added to a growing list of dining establishments notable for their adoption of a trending policy: no tipping.
In Girard's case, restaurant workers will be paid a percentage of the restaurant's profits, in addition to their hourly wages. ... read more»
For coach-class flyers, there's been little in the way of good news recently. If anything, the trend has been a negative one, with airlines squeezing ever more seats onto ever fuller planes. Comfort? Not much.
Delta this week introduced a new in-flight entertainment system, dubbed Delta Studio, that will at least offer a bit of distraction to its coach customers, if nothing in the way of extra comfort.
With the new system, which Delta calls "the most far-reaching effort by an airline," flyers will have access to movies, TV shows, music, and video games, either on seatback screens or via their own streaming-enabled devices. ... read more»
JetBlue is changing its ticket-pricing policy next year, and fees for first checked bags will presumably accompany those changes.
Over the weekend, JetBlue's Chief Financial Officer Mark Powers told Bloomberg News, "There is a construct under which we would, in effect, be able to charge for bags."
JetBlue, said Powers, is in the process of creating fare "families" or "bundles" that would each include a specific set of services. Get ready for some confusing fare bundling, everyone.
Powers is talking about implementing a tiered pricing policy similar to that used by airlines such as Frontier and Spirit. Many so-called low-cost carriers offer competitively priced base fares, then tack on additional fees for everything from bags to seat assignments to bookings made by phone. You can either pay for the little extras or buy a more expensive type of ticket that includes 'em. Either way, you're paying. ... read more»
A recent posting on Just the Flight warned travelers of 40 tourist scams prevalent around the world. Wow—that's a long checklist. Fortunately, many of the 40 are "variations on a theme," and a comparable posting of 10 scams from Cheapflights.com is more realistic. Yes, none of the 10 or even the 40 is really new or innovative, but they bear repeating, anyhow.
Fake Police: A street merchant may put something in your hand or around your wrist, then, when you try to give it back, complain that you're trying to steal it. A uniformed policeman—fake—happens to be passing by and threatens to arrest you if you don't pay for what you supposedly stole. Variations include trumped-up arguments with taxi drivers and merchants.
Fake Valuables: A vendor on a Bogota street offers to sell you "emeralds" at a fraction of the going price. A related scam: You're standing in line to buy a ticket for something and someone offers to sell you a "better" ticket and avoid the line. ... read more»
The current headlines—the downing of Malaysia flight 17 and the Israeli-Gaza hostilities—focus a spotlight on today's travel uncertainties. And that, in turn, raises the question of how travel insurance would help you in coping with the fallout from these problems. The short answer is that trip-interruption/trip-cancellation insurance (TCI) might not help as much as you might hope, or think.
The most serious threat to tourism at the moment is Israel, and even though not many of you are considering a visit to Gaza, the situation on the ground is that rockets from Gaza can reach some of the primary tourist areas. Unfortunately, however, TCI is not likely to cover cancellation expenses. TCI is "named peril" insurance, meaning it pays off only in circumstances specifically included in the contract. But virtually all policies specifically exclude "war, declared or undeclared, or any act thereof" as a named peril, and insurers are likely to see the current situation as an undeclared war. ... read more»
Following is our regular summary of the latest travel news and best frequent traveler promotions reviewed during the past week.
If it was a good deal—or a notably bad deal—from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly.
Is a pig on the way to the slaughterhouse more comfortable than the typical coach-class airline passenger? Arguably, yes. ... read more»
The online travel agencies already boast competitive prices, plenty of inventory, and solid if not flashy user interfaces. So it's no mystery why the latest battle for the hearts and minds of travel consumers is taking place in the arena of loyalty programs.