Following is our regular summary of the 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....read more»
Amsterdam is a laboratory of progressive living and tolerance, bottled inside Europe's most 17th-century city. Like Venice, this city is a patchwork quilt of canal-bordered islands, anchored upon millions of wooden pilings. But unlike its dwelling-in-the-past cousin, Amsterdam sees itself as a city of the future. And after years of reshuffling and rebuilding, Amsterdam is coming together—2013 is shaping up to be a big year for finally completing several ambitious projects.
People who love Dutch art are thrilled that next April, the new, much-improved Rijksmuseum will open—10 years after it closed for a radical renovation. Built in 1885 to house the nation's great art, the Rijksmuseum owns an incomparable collection of 17th-century Dutch Masters: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Steen. But earlier renovations chopped up the original space into narrow, sparse galleries. So officials moved the masterpieces into its smaller Philips Wing and tore apart the main structure. ...read more»
Since 1997, Untied.com has been gleefully skewering United for the kind of customer service lapses that are part and parcel of flying United (or most other major U.S. airlines).
The site has two goals: to alert passengers "to United Airlines' attitude towards its customers and employees," and to provide a forum for passengers and employees "to voice their concerns and complaints, in the hopes that United will pay attention and act appropriately to respond to them."
According to the website, it has collected around 26,000 customer complaints during its time online. Of those, United is known to have responded to 100, only half of which were considered satisfactory....read more»
In the airline business, it seems that no good deed goes unpunished.
Case in point: Virgin America.
If I were to design an airline from the ground up, it would look very much like Virgin America.
In a business where conformity and mediocrity are the norm, Virgin America's Apple-like focus on the user experience sets it apart....read more»
Those automatic keycard readers that are now ubiquitous make life easier for guests and hotel staff alike, but now it turns out that they might be making it easier for thieves as well....read more»
The healthiest airport in the country is located in the pizza-stuffed state of New Jersey.
According to a report from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Newark Liberty International Airport has the most diet-friendly cuisine in the country. Newark Liberty really lives up to that Garden State moniker, dishing out falafel sandwiches, seaweed salads, and grilled veggies in abundance. The airport scored 92 percent on the PCRM's healthy-food scale.
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport came in at second place, and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is the third healthiest. The PCRM found that overall, more than three quarters of airport restaurants in the U.S. have something wholesome to offer hungry travelers....read more»
A widower is suing Delta and Lufthansa, after both airlines denied his sick wife passage on their flights, leaving her stranded in Hungary where she died. CBS New York reports that Janos Soltesz, and his wife, Vilma Soltesz had flown from the U.S.A to Budapest via Delta and KLM on September 17th. The couple planned to fly home in October to New York so that Vilma could be treated for her diabetes and renal disease. ...read more»
The duty-free shopping business is headed for a worldwide sales mark close to $50 billion this year, says a recent report from the Paris-based Tax Free World Association. Clearly, those deals must appeal to somebody, but my take is that they're limited to a very few cases. Overall, airports account for almost two-thirds of total sales—no surprise here. Luxury goods, including fashion items and accessories, jewelry, and watches, account for about a third of the sales, with fragrances and cosmetics about the same, and wines and spirits a bit less. The Asia-Pacific region rings up the highest sales volume, followed by Europe. ...read more»
Happy holidays from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)! What did the often-maligned security agency get travelers this season? The gift of holiday travel tips. The TSA has posted a new blog entry to alert travelers to recent changes in rules, a helpful app, contact information for the agency, and other useful information for this busy travel time. Read on to learn what new rules you'll need to follow at the airport this holiday season, how to speed through security, and who to call if you need help or advice....read more»
For your best chances of finding a highly rated cheap hotel in North America, go to Quebec City. According to a new report from the folks at CheapHotels.org, which looked at reviews written by hotel guests in 30 destinations in the United States and Canada, 75 percent of travelers were satisfied with their stays in Quebec City.
Conversely, you're most likely to run into a disappointing property in Miami Beach, where only 54 percent of travelers were happy with their hotel experiences.
Normally I don't have much use for those "best" ratings for individual destinations, because if you want to go to Miami Beach, you don't care if hotels may be better in Quebec. Even though these ratings aren't likely to influence your destination, they can tip you off to places where you might have to be more careful than usual....read more»