Thanksgiving dinner is the least of it.
It's all those breakfasts and lunches for the visiting relatives, all those loads of towels and dishes that need to be washed, the messes the visiting kids make and having to be nice 24/7.
Honestly, I don't know how we all do it over the holidays&mash;with a smile no less—even when the guests are oh-so-annoying, the visiting toddler grinds cracker crumbs into the carpet, the tween refuses to eat anything she's served and the uncle falls asleep on the couch, snoring loudly.
Maybe it helps to know you're not alone: AAA reports that millions of people will travel between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, most of them visiting family. That means there are a lot of beleaguered holiday hosts out there....read more»
Editor's note: This story was originally published in November 2011, before we relaunched our Today in Travel blog. We're republishing it here due to Room 77's new sale.
Ever booked a room at a great hotel, but then ended up in a less than large room with a view of a brick wall and a constant soundtrack of street noise? Room 77 is trying to prevent this travel tragedy by not only helping you figure out the best room in your category, but then going the extra step and automatically emailing your preferences to the hotel. If that doesn't get a response, a live person will actually call the hotel to plead for the room on your behalf. You can pick a specific room, or a general room quality, such as "quiet" or "view." Some of the hotel listings on the Room 77 site include diagrams indicating the placement of the room and the direction of the view. Some even have photos of what you'll see out your window.
When Room 77 first launched, hotel hunters had to book through Orbitz. Now, you can book through a variety of third parties or directly through Room 77, which gives you free access to its new Room Concierge service (available for three-star properties and higher). That's what allows you to specify a room preference, and Room 77 works with the hotel to reserve it for you....read more»
The European Union (E.U.) announced this week that it is banning the use of X-ray (a.k.a "backscatter") body scanning machines over health concerns. Questions have been raised over the safety of using X-ray technology, which is believed to potentially increase a passenger's risk of cancer, as a means of passenger screening.
The European Commission, which wrote the report, states: "In order not to risk jeopardising citizens' health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology are added to the list of authorised methods for passenger screening at E.U. airports."
American airports, of course, use both X-ray scanners and millimeter wave scanners (the latter of which is not believed to pose any health risk). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains that both types of machines are safe.
So, to be clear: This doesn't mean that flying within Europe lets you avoid the naked body scanners, but it does mean you're less likely to be exposed to potentially harmful rays on your next European trip....read more»
If it was a good deal (or a notably bad one) from an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program, you can read all about it here, and plan your travel accordingly, in Tim Winship's weekly round-up....read more»
Forget Snakes on a Plane. Who's ready for Cockroaches in the Cabin? CNN reports that a Charlotte couple is suing AirTran for more than $100,000 after they allegedly spotted cockroaches on their flight to Houston.
The two passengers took pictures and videos of the critters crawling out of air vents and baggage compartments, and claim that the flight attendants ignored the infestation, despite their complaints.
According to the CNN report, the couple is suing the airline for "negligence and recklessness, infliction of emotional distress, nuisance, false imprisonment and unfair and deceptive trade practices." ...read more»
Alpine villages don't get much more fairy tale than Murren, Switzerland, which has aptly been described as "Yosemite with a Swiss village on top." This tiny town of just 300 year-round residents looms over Switzerland's Lauterbrunnen Valley from atop a 3,000-foot cliff, and it's only accessible by foot or funicular. In the summer, it's something of a hiker's paradise, and a gateway to trails at even higher elevations. The unconquerable Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau ("Ogre, Monk, and Maiden") peaks tower over Murren and provide a fascinating backdrop of jagged shapes and shadows....read more»
Last Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined American Eagle $900,000 for violating the new three-hour tarmac delay rule. Although the rule has been in effect since 2010, this is the first big fine. More are likely in the works, however; JetBlue is already facing similar possible fines for recent delays. ...read more»
According to AAA, 90 percent of all Thanksgiving travelers are packing the car and driving to their feast. Of the remaining 10 percent, 8 percent are flying. Eight percent of travelers is no small number, however. If you're among those 3.4 million taking to the skies, you've probably already booked, but if you haven't, you've already kissed off affordable rates. This week's Thanksgiving flights are 16 percent more expensive than last, and 19 percent higher when compared to 2010. (All percentages rounded to nearest whole number.)
Christmas fares, on the other hand, are still relatively affordable. Though a good chunk of the Christmas flights rose since last week (42 percent), they only did so by about 4 percent. Don't delay nailing down a flight though, prices are only due to steadily climb....read more»
Which is your worst nightmare, getting trapped in the airplane bathroom ... or having your pilot get trapped in there?
Luckily for the passengers on Wednesday's Chautauqua Airlines flight from North Carolina to LaGuardia, there was a co-pilot at the controls, so the plane wasn't left unattended.
That aside, however, the incident did end up unintentionally causing a mid-air terror scare when the trapped pilot attempted to enlist help in freeing himself from the lavatory. He started banging on the door, and when a passenger sitting nearby came to his help, he told the man to go to the cockpit and inform the crew he was stuck....read more»
For several months, British Airways had been alluding coyly to upcoming changes to the Executive Club program, suggesting that program members could look forward to enhancements to the program.
Frequent flyers have learned the hard way that "enhancement" usually turns out to be code for devaluation.
That suspicion was confirmed with yesterday's announcement...read more»