What Is It: Relax Ally
After testing dozens of disappointing travel pillows during my time at SmarterTravel, I had high hopes for the outside-the-box Relax Ally. With its headband that snaps into another band that is wrapped around your seat, it's a sort of sleeping containment device for the airplane (or anyplace you're trying to sleep upright in a chair), a personal lasso that keeps your head from ending up on your seatmate's shoulder. ... read more»
Last week's Tropical Storm Andrea reminds us that, once again, the hurricane season is upon us. And this year, say the mavens, may be a vintage year. So it's time to review the basics of hurricane-season travel. If you're planning travel through the fall—especially anywhere near the southeastern United States or the Caribbean—you need to figure possible hurricanes into the mix. ... read more»
Last week, United launched three new "added benefits for the savvy traveler." But a closer look raises questions about just who benefits the most—those supposedly savvy flyers or United?
Baggage Subscription: Starting at $349 per year, you can "forget about checked-baggage service charges" and instead check a bag for no fee each time you travel. You have a handful of options: ... read more»
Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), air traffic controllers in France plan to go on strike. And unions in other countries may join the strike in coming days.
Although European airlines may have to cancel lots of flights, they'll probably drop mostly short-haul trips, so your flight to Europe is likely to operate with a minimal delay. But if you're going to fly on beyond your arrival hub, you'd better start thinking about a Plan B. ... 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.
Nuisance fees are on the rise, up 19.6 percent in 2012. Spirit and Allegiant are among the worst offenders. ... read more»
Ancillary revenue: That's the money airlines make from the sale of products and services over and above basic airfare.
Much of those ancillary revenues come from baggage fees, change fees, seat-selection fees, early-boarding fees, and so on—the sort of charges widely derided by consumers as nickel-and-dimeing.
Such fees are increasingly important to airline profitability and increased 19.6 percent to $27.1 billion in 2012, according to a report released by industry consulting company IdeaWorks.
As the report notes, not all airlines disclose ancillary revenue in their financial reports. And those that do, don't always do so fully. So the actual contributions from such fees are likely much higher. ... read more»
One of the great joys of European travel is eating. If you let yourself tune in to the experience, a meal is a travel thrill in itself—as inspiring as visiting an art gallery and as stimulating as a good massage.
I have only a few basic rules for eating my way through Europe: Find places outside the tourist zones. Go for local specialties. Eat seasonally. Most of all, eat fearlessly, trying things you've never had in places you've never been. ... read more»
According to a recent study conducted by Travelodge, half of the Britons who vacation this summer will forget to pack a "vital holiday essential" and spend an aggregate £684 million (a tad over $1 billion) to replace it.
The most frequently forgotten items are swimwear, a cardigan/jumper, new shoes, sunglasses, and a new outfit. Additionally, continues the study, more than two thirds of vacationers reported they overpack: They usually bring home up to six unworn complete outfits and three pairs of shoes that they thought would be suitable for their holiday. ... read more»
Southwest this week announced the newly added ability to gift or transfer Rapid Rewards points, and its first-ever discount on purchased points.
According to the news release, "It's another way the airline is spreading the LUV!" The message Southwest sends to financial analysts and investors is probably more along the lines of, We've found another revenue opportunity to exploit, which will expand our bottom line. ... read more»