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. ...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»
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»
The TSA is willing to pay big bucks for smart ideas. If you can design a better security-queue system, they're willing to pony up $15,000 in cash....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»
Pity not the airlines.
This week, most U.S. airlines announced their operational and financial results for the second quarter. And they were nothing short of record breaking.
American reported net income of $864 million. But if merger-related expenses aren't counted, the airline's profit for the quarter would be $1.5 billion, its best ever.
In a wild swing from its previous quarter's $609 million loss, United managed a record profit of $789 million for the latest quarter....read more»
The great majority of American travelers will never suffer the effects of having their names included on the federal government's watch list of known or suspected terrorists. Air travel is stressful enough without the added worry of being subjected to "enhanced" airport security screenings and possibly being prohibited from flying altogether.
But it's a seemingly inevitable byproduct of the anti-terrorism security apparatus that the names of many ordinary citizens find their way onto the list. And that has raised questions about what, exactly, are the criteria for inclusion on a list of could-be terrorists....read more»
If pigs could fly ... well, they might have it better than humans flying in coach.
Pigs on a truck are probably on their way to the slaughterhouse. For humans on a plane, shoehorned into coach seats, it just feels that way.
According to the American Meat Institute's "Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide: a Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare," a swine or sow weighing 200 pounds should be allocated 4 square feet of space when being transported by truck during the summer months. (Although the guidelines are for travel by ground, they would presumably apply as well in the unlikely event that pigs were flown rather than trucked.)...read more»