In my earlier story on travel rip-offs, I asked readers for their nominations for worst travel gouges and some responded with "airport parking." Airport parking can certainly be a gouge; at some big hubs, even "economy long-term rates" can go as high as $30 a day. And even independent off-airport lots typically charge just enough less than the airport to generate business. Unless you can leave your car at home and get a taxi, shuttle, or lift from your home, you could face a stiff parking bill when you return to your home airport. And if you fly to/from an airport that isn't close, you may not have a convenient alternative to driving and parking. ...read more»
On a routine earnings conference call for financial reporters last week, Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, was asked if Southwest might start charging baggage fees. Followers of cop and lawyer shows on TV know that sort of question is called a "hypothetical," and Kelly answered it the way most people answer hypotheticals: We're not planning it now, but we might in the future.
Kelly's exact words: If customers want "an a la carte approach ... we'd be crazy not to provide our customers with what they want."
Decades ago, my old high school buddy Larry used to reply to hypotheticals by saying, "It's not altogether inconceivable," and Kelly might well have used that one instead. Folks use answers like that to maintain maximum wiggle room and protect themselves against criticisms like, "But three years ago you said you'd never change your policy!"...read more»
Enter the Friendly Planet Travel "Exotic Malaysia and Thailand" sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two on Friendly Planet's Exotic Borneo and Bangkok tour....read more»
Driving in Europe can be scary—a video game for keeps, and you only get one quarter. European drivers can be aggressive. They drive fast and tailgate as if it were required. They pass where Americans are taught not to—on blind corners and just before tunnels.
For Americans stressed out about driving in Europe, expressways and toll roads are the answers. I favor them because they're safer, cheaper (saving time and gas even if there is a toll), and less nerve-wracking than smaller roads. Sure, you'll need to take back roads to find some Back Door destinations, but usually superhighways are the fastest way to get from point A to point B. Here are some tips on what to expect. ...read more»
The past week has seen a spate of quarterly earning reports from the airlines.
In American's case, the strong financial performance is largely attributable to its reorganization in bankruptcy. The cost-cutting and operational streamlining have had their desired effect....read more»
Does the world need another travel loyalty program?
Probably not. But if you're a major online travel agency, like Orbitz, and other agencies like Expedia and Hotels.com have programs, you could not help but feel competitive pressure to counter their rewards schemes with one of your own.
Delta isn't known for its frequent or outsized award discounts.
In fact, if Delta is known for anything award-related, it's for being among the least generous when it comes to award availability. (For two consecutive years, Delta ranked last in IdeaWorks' annual survey of award availability.)
This new discount for award flights to the Caribbean isn't likely to have much effect on travelers' perception of Delta's award policies. But it's a step in the right direction....read more»