Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Northwest Airlines Picks Up Additional Passenger In Flight

Northwest Airlines Flight 59 picked up an extra passenger on Wednesday when it was en route from the Netherlands to the United States.

Phil Orlandella, a spokesman for Logan International Airport in Boston, says a woman went into labour and gave birth to an apparently healthy baby girl over the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday during the eight-hour flight from Amsterdam.

Orlandella said a doctor and a paramedic who were on the flight assisted in the birth. He said the plane landed without incident and the mother and baby were immediately taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Orlandella said he did not know the nationality of the mother, but said for customs’ purposes the baby was considered a Canadian citizen because she was born over Canada’s airspace.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Add To Your List Of Strange Tourist Attractions

I thought I had heard of every really strange tourist attraction there was until I read today the bathroom at the Minneapolis St Paul Airport where Senator Craig was arrested had somehow turned into one.

Apparently there had been so much interest in seeing the bathroom stall Senator Craig occupied when he was snared in a police sting looking for men cruising for sex, that it has been causing traffic problems for the airport. One person even offered to buy the stall for $5,000, I am still trying to figure out where he was going to put it.

Anyone who has even been in an airport restroom probably agrees with me that even stranger then the stall being a tourist attraction, is how anyone could find anything erotic in one of the smelliest, dirtiest and unsanitary places on the planet. Frankly if you can get turned on in an airport restroom you never have to worry about needing Viagra.

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Great Glasses Don't Have To Cost You A Fortune

Every couple of years I look to get a new pair of glasses. My old pair isn't my prescription anymore and sometimes you just want a new look and feel. With today's economy though I was thinking about skipping buying a pair this year until I checked out Zenni Optical.

What I really wanted for Christmas was a new pair of glasses with titanium frames because they are so light, much lighter then the ones I currently have. I was at a local optical store and the prices were outrageous for them. I went searching online and found Zenni Optical. They have an awesome selection of Holiday frames and their prices are outstanding.

I picked out this pair of glasses with titanium frames from way less then I would have ended up paying at my local store. The prices really surprised me and the quality is first rate, you definitely aren't having to sacrifice quality for price.

If you are truly budget conscious they have frames for as low as $8.00. Who couldn't afford to replace their old frames for 8 bucks. Even the newest designs are priced way low. You definitely have to check them out, you won't be disappointed.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Go! Airline Pilots Sleept Through Landing

The pilots on board a go! airlines flight that overshot the Hilo airport last February have admitting falling asleep in the cockpit while the plane was on autopilot.

A recently released National Transportation Safety Board report says the captain initially lied to investigators about the incident.

The 11-page report says the pilots stopped responding to air traffic control communications about halfway through the flight from Honolulu to Hilo.

The plane then passed over Hilo International Airport at 21,000 feet and continued straight for nearly 30 miles past the airport over the open ocean.

Mesa Airlines, which owns go! airlines, fired both pilots after the incident. Mesa airlines also owns those great commuter airlines which are always on the bottom of the customer service and on time statistics.

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Now A Moment Of Silence For Our Newly Deceased Airline ATA

ATA Airlines last night filed a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and this morning discontinued all of its operations. ATA said an "unexpected cancellation" of a military charter contract, provided through an agreement with FedEx, dried up its capital and necessitated the stop in service.

ATA said it no longer would honor reservations, has canceled all frequent flier benefits and has eliminated positions for the vast majority of its 2,230 employees. ATA alerted customers holding reservations purchased with a credit card to contact their credit card company for refunds. The carrier said booked passengers should "seek alternative arrangements for current and future travel. To that end, ATA has contacted the airlines that serve ATA destinations and asked them to provide assistance to ATA customers."

ATA said a decades-old teaming agreement with FedEx comprised the bulk of its charter operations. However, ATA said FedEx alerted the carrier that it is dissolving that contract for the next fiscal year. "This termination is a full year earlier than the term specified in a letter of agreement between FedEx and ATA," ATA said in a statement this morning.

Prior to the military contract cancellation, ATA had been in a financial tailspin, attributed in part to the growing cost of fuel. The carrier last month announced it would cease domestic scheduled service at Chicago Midway Airport on April 14 and international service from that airport on June 7. "All such service has been discontinued immediately, in addition to all of ATA's other scheduled flights, which operated between the West Coast and Hawaii," ATA said today.

ATA COO Doug Yakola in a statement said, "We deeply regret the disruption and hardship caused by the sudden shutdown of ATA, an outcome we and our employees had worked very hard and made many sacrifices to avoid. Unfortunately, the cancellation of a critical agreement for our military charter business undermined ATA's plan to address the current conditions facing all scheduled service airlines, including the tremendous spike in the price of jet fuel in recent months. As a result, it became impossible for ATA to continue operating."

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Canada's New "Two Seat For Wide Load" Law Is Causing Problems

Canada's two largest airlines are scrambling to craft new policies defining obesity as they prepare to offer disabled passengers two seats for the price of one.

Both WestJet Airlines and Air Canada are considering asking disabled travellers, including the morbidly obese, to provide doctors' notes confirming their conditions instead of giving them extra seats based on the passengers' own assessments.

The airlines have until Jan. 10 to finalize their plans, when they must comply with a landmark new "one person, one fare" policy on orders from the Canadian Transportation Agency.

WestJet, however, is thinking of going a step further and including the obese only if they have an underlying medical condition, Bentley said. That means WestJet's eligibility would be based on why you are fat, not how fat you are.

The agency in its ruling said that free seats don't need to be provided to obese people who are merely uncomfortable in their seats or who are not disabled by their size.

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Baggage Tracking Software At CLT Goes Heywire

As holiday travelers head back home, some are encountering a glitch in the system that airlines use to track luggage.

The Net Tracer computer network allows airlines to share information about checked baggage. That is crucial to passengers using more than one airline to reach a destination. It is also key to finding bags that get lost.

At Charlotte Douglas International on Friday, passenger Bernadette Casciato almost had her bags go on to New Orleans even though she is spending the weekend in Charlotte.

"US Airways was helpful enough to send somebody to get it off before they took off," she said. "I now have all my Christmas presents so I'm happy."

Information normally put into computers about a passenger's luggage now has to be taken down in long hand. It could take up to 12 hours to restore the system.

Most passengers at the Charlotte airport told NewsChannel 36 reporter Rad Berky that they had no problems.

Debbie Friesland said she was on her way to baggage claim to get her bags for the second time. There had been no problems at her previous stopover. This time, she said, "Let's see." Her bags were there waiting for her.

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Philippine Air Traffic Controllers Leave Airplane Circling

An airplane was stuck circling a southern Philippine airport for several minutes before landing Friday because air traffic controllers apparently still in a Christmas holiday mood came in late for work, officials said.

The Philippine Airlines flight from Manila was unable to land at Zamboanga city's airport on schedule because there were no traffic controllers around to answer their request to approach the runway, said Reynaldo Alforte, the airport's assistant chief air traffic controller.

"There were two controllers who reported for work a few minutes late, causing delays," Alforte told The Associated Press.

Two other tower workers scheduled to be on duty were absent Friday, he said, adding that the case was under investigation.

Alforte said PAL Flight 123 approached the airport several minutes earlier than its scheduled 6:45 a.m. arrival, and the pilots had to hover around the airport waiting for a response to their calls on the radio. He said the plane finally landed at 6:48 a.m.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Travel and Leasure Releases 2008 Worst Airports

T&L magazine recently released its top 10 worst airports list and it probably wont come as a big surprise to anyone, especially those stuck in them during the holidays.

10. Chicago Midway (MDW)
9. Atlanta Hartsfield Airport (ATL)
8. New York's JFK Airport (JFK)
7. San Fransisco (SFO) new to the list this year.
6. Washington Dulles (IAD) also new to the list this year
5. New York's LaGuardia (LGA)
4. Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) you can thank American Airlines for this one
3. Miami (MIA) another newcomer due to American Airlines
2. Newark (EWR)

and number 1......can anyone guess??????? not a big shocker here......

Chicago O'Hare (ORD) is number 1 for the seventh consecutive year !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chicago's O'Hare, which has been compaired to places like Hell, has once again been named the worst airport in the world by yet another publication.

For those of you keeping track, O'Hare is listed as the worlds worst airport in 211 different publications and travel sites.

Consider this a travel tip, if you are flying anywhere in the world, you may want to avoid going through ORD, you might not make it out.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

At Least You Aren't At O'Hare Airport

While planes were slidding off the taxiways at O'Hare, hundreds of passengers were stranded at the world's worst airport in the world.

One day after hundreds of holiday travelers spent the night at O'Hare International Airport, many continued to be stuck in air travel limbo and were seeking alternate ways out of town to make it home for Christmas.

Meanwhile, more snow fell today, and the National Weather Service said additional snow and ice were possible in the Chicago region. Temperatures will plunge to single digits tonight.

Elsewhere in the country, the Northwest faced more snow and sleet, and more snow and ice spread over the Northeast.

"We're seeing quite a bit of messiness out there," said weather service meteorologist Ed Shimon, who's been at work at the agency's Lincoln, Ill., office for six straight days, a period when the state has seen snow, ice and subzero temperatures. "It's something different every day -- never a dull moment."

More than 100 flights had been called off at O'Hare by this afternoon, and the Federal Aviation Administration reported delays there and at Newark, N.J.

At O'Hare, Ryan Burns and Mike Sullivan arrived at the airport this morning from a month-long vacation in China. After being stuck several days in the Shangai airport they thought things would run much more smoothly on American soil. They were wrong.

After hours of delays, their connecting flight to their hometown of Dayton, Ohio was canceled after the flight crew failed to arrive.

Failing to find another flight, they resigned themselves to a night on a couple of the O'Hare's 500 cots.

"It looked like Hurricane Katrina," Burns said, describing the scene with cots laid out everywhere. "I felt like I was in a shelter, but I didn't get any soup."

After a 4 a.m. wakeup call from a Chicago police officer, Burns and Sullivan resumed their search for a flight to Dayton, but they were unable to confirm a flight until Christmas afternoon and opted to spend tonight with Sullivan's cousins in Chicago.

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American Airline Flight Slips Off Taxiway At O'Hare

A plane taxiing to take off at O'Hare International Airport this evening hit an icy patch and slid sideways onto a grassy surface at the airport, airline and city officials said.

American Airlines Flight 1544 was scheduled to leave for Washington, D.C., and slid off the taxiway after departing the gate at 6:42 p.m.

Airline spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said the jet was not going very fast as it was trying to turn to get to the runway, and only the left main and nose tire went off the pavement.

There were no injuries to the 54 passengers and crew of five aboard, said Fagan.

A city Department of Aviation representative confirmed there were no injuries, and said Chicago Fire Department and Police responded to the scene.

Passengers were removed and taken to the terminal by bus, where they would be placed aboard other flights, Fagan said.

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In Seattle, Airplane De-Ice Fumes Wipe Out Passengers

Officials in Seattle say fumes from a chemical used to de-ice airplanes have gotten into the passenger cabin of an Alaska Airlines plane at Sea-Tac Airport.

Airport spokesman Perry Cooper says about 20 people have been treated for eye irritation. He says one crew member and two passengers have been taken to hospital. He says their condition does not appear to be serious.

An Alaska Airlines spokeswoman, Caroline Boren, says it's unknown how the fumes entered the plane.

It happened about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday as Flight 528 was preparing to depart for Burbank, Calif, with 143 passengers and a crew of five.

Boren says there have been no other de-icer problems in a week of snow at the airport.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Seattle Weather Creating Flying Nightmare At SeaTac

A blast of winter in the nation's northern tier stranded travelers far and wide Sunday just a few days before Christmas, with dozens of flights delayed or canceled and bus passengers sleeping on cardboard at a Seattle terminal.

"I've got phone books as a pillow," said Greyhound passenger Phillip Barton, having given up hope of reaching his home in Ketchikan, Alaska, by Christmas.

A weekend storm dumped about 5 inches of snow around Seattle by Sunday morning, and it snowed anew all afternoon, with the National Weather Service predicting up to 4 inches more by Monday morning.

Two of the three runways at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were operating, but airlines canceled scores of flights Saturday and Sunday, leaving several hundred people wondering when they'd get on a plane, airport spokesman Perry Cooper said. Alaska and Horizon airlines suspended all service Sunday afternoon.

Several airlines urged passengers to rebook flights online from their homes, rather than clog ticket counters. Virgin America encouraged passengers not to fly out of Seattle on Sunday by waiving ticket-change fees for anyone who decided to stay home.

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NTSB Concludes Investigation Of NWA Crash In Guam

The National Transportation Safety Board released its factual report on the Aug. 19, 2005 accident at the Guam airport, in which a Northwest Airlines flight from Japan landed with its nose gear up.

Two passengers were slightly injured during the accident and the plane was damaged beyond repair.

According to passenger accounts, the nose of Northwest Flight 74 dropped shortly after landing and the plane started to fill with smoke, prompting an emergency evacuation down inflatable slides. There were 340 people aboard.

The report doesn't draw any conclusions about the cause of the accident, but provides information about:

# the crew's actions before the accident;

# the results of subsequent tests of the landing gear parts; and

# the procedures to be followed by the flight crew when there is a problem with landing gear indicator lights.

It also notes a similar landing gear problem on that plane earlier in the month.

The NTSB still has to prepare a final description of the accident and the probable cause. It isn't known when that will happen.

According to a summary of the cockpit conversation, the flight crew aborted the plane's initial landing and got permission to fly in a holding pattern after a red light appeared on a landing gear indicator and a warning horn sounded.

After referring to a cockpit operations manual, the captain decided to land the plane after concluding that the landing gear was "down and locked," the report states. The crew's second officer said "good to go," the report states, and the crew's first officer said, "We ran through it and it said gear's down and everybody's happy."

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Continental Airplane Goes Off Runway In Denver

A Continental Airlines jet taking off from Denver veered off the runway into a ravine Saturday night, forcing passengers to evacuate on emergency slides as the plane burned, officials said. Nearly 40 people suffered injuries ranging from broken bones to bumps and bruises.

There were conflicting reports on whether it slid or crashed.

According to Julie King, a spokeswoman with Continental Airlines, flight 1404 from Denver to Houston was trying to take off but "exited" the runway.

King said people were hurt but none of the injuries was serious. The aircraft was a 737 with 107 passengers and five crew members abroad. Crew members activated the evacuation chutes and all passengers made it off the plane safely, airport officials said.

Denver Fire Department Division Chief Patrick Hynes said a fire associated with the accident burned the entire right side of the plane. Melted plastic from the overhead compartments dripped onto the seats down below, he said. It was unknown when or how the fire started.

Firefighters arriving on the scene described it as "surreal." "Much like a movie, some people coming out of the smoke and up the hill," Hynes said.

Ground crews put out the fire quickly, said airport spokesman Jeff Green. The 112 people on board made it out on through slides on the Boeing 737.

No deaths were reported, but 38 people were taken to hospitals, said Kim Day, Denver International Airport manager of aviation. No one was reported in critical condition.

Debris remained on the runway, with the plane about 200 yards away and its landing gear shorn off, Hynes said.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The weather in Denver was cold but not snowy when Continental Flight 1404 took off from Denver International Airport for Houston around 6:20 p.m.

The plane veered off course about 2,000 feet from the end of the runway and did not appear to be airborne, Day said.

The plane was carrying 107 passengers and five crew members, said Continental spokeswoman Mary Clark.

A Denver Health official said 10 people were taken there. Eight people were at the University of Colorado hospital, and 10 were treated at The Medical Center of Aurora, but none had life-threatening injuries, hospital officials said.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Airplane In England Turns Around Due To Unqualified Pilot

A British passenger plane was forced to turn back minutes before landing in Paris because the pilot of 30 years' experience was not qualified to land in fog, an airline confirmed on Thursday.

Speaking over the address system as the Flybe flight approached Charles de Gaulle airport, the pilot announced to startled passengers "I am not qualified to land the plane" and turned back to Cardiff.

A spokeswoman for the low-cost airline said the pilot was "an experienced aviator with more than 30 years commercial aviation experience flying a number of different passenger aircraft types."

"He has relatively recently transferred his 'type-rating' from a Bombardier Q300 to a Bombardier Q400 and has not yet completed the requisite low-visibility training to complete a landing in conditions such as the dense fog experienced in Paris Charles de Gaulle," she said.

"The captain therefore quite correctly turned the aircraft around and returned to Cardiff; a decision which the company stands by 100 percent."

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Hertz Going Back To Overcharging For Gas

Over the summer of 2008, as the Attorney General's Offices in Maryland, New York and Boston were preparing to file charges against Hertz for gouging customers on refilling rental cars, they eleminated the practice, charging only the average gas rate for the area.

Hertz had been charging customer up to $8 per gallon to refill rental cars returned without a full tank. The practice, along with the other various refilling options offered by rental car companies, net the industry great profits. The AG's office in several states found the practice abusive and threatened action against Hertz and several other companies for the practice.

In order to avoid bad press and possible fines by states, Hertz changed its policy in June 2008, charging only average per gallon rate for the area the car was rented in.

Well the press has cooled off and the AG's have backed off since the summer, so Hertz is reverting back to it's old practice of overcharging customers for gas. Hertz began sending out email's to customers this week explaining they were going back to the $8 per gallon charge.

The following is a direct quote from the email:

Hertz has reverted to our prior refueling options, effective December 1, 2008. This means the Flat Refueling Fee, and Fuel and Service Charges based on local pump prices, have been discontinued. All North American corporate-owned Hertz locations, including Airport, Hertz Local Edition® and Off-Airport locations in Canada are affected.*

Hertz has three refueling options available to meet your needs:

  • You may purchase a tank of gas from Hertz at time of rental and return the vehicle with as little gas as you prefer. Please be aware that we are unable to issue a refund for unused fuel. However, this method eliminates the need for you to refuel the tank prior to returning.
  • You can let us refuel for you and only pay for the fuel required to replace the fuel you used, and for the service and convenience of refueling the tank.
  • You can stop and refuel the tank yourself, immediately prior to returning the vehicle.

We apologize for any inconveniences this change may cause. No matter which Hertz refueling option you decide is best for your travels, we are glad you are choosing Hertz.

If you think Hertz charges allot for gas, don't get a flat tire in one of their rental cars. A woman was recently charged $499.98 for replacement of a flat tire on her compact rental car.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jerk Get's Drunk On Airplane, Beats Wife, And Sues United

Just when you thought people have completely denied having any responsibility for their actions, another story comes along. This time it's not a lady suing McDonald's because the coffee was hot...this time someone is suing United Airlines for making him beat his wife.

Yes ladies and gentleman, fortified with Burgundy wine allegedly supplied at 20-minute intervals by United crew members during the December 2006 trip, Yoichi Shimamoto became so inebriated "that he could not manage himself," and he struck his wife, Ayisha, six times, injuring her face and upper lip as they were heading through U.S. Customs in San Francisco, the complaint said.

I am not sure what is worse, the fact that he is actually blaming United Airlines, or that a lawyer actually took the case although the legal profession is constantly lowering the bar on outrageous behavior.

Although Yoichi Shimamoto was charged and sentenced to 18 months' probation, the couple contend that United Airlines ultimately was responsible for his violent outburst, according to the lawsuit.

United's "conduct was egregious because it knew or should have known that over-serving a passenger alcohol on an international flight would have negative consequences," the complaint said. United's "conduct was deliberate, reckless, intentional and done with disregard for plaintiffs and all passengers."

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Save Big Money On Your Vacation Lodging

The economy is really bad right now and people are trying to save money on anything and everything they can think of. It's not an easy time to think about a vacation and most people assume that they cant afford a vacation right now.

Don't assume anything until you check the savings on vacation rentals that is possible, you might actually be able to afford that vacation after all. With airfares coming down as less people are traveling, one of your biggest expenses on vacation will be lodging. can help you save big on lodging at some of the nicest vacation rentals you will ever see. No matter where you are traveling to they have vacation rentals that can save you hundreds on your vacation lodging.

Now that it's winter, people start thinking about how nice it would be to hit the beach somewhere warm for a break from the icy weather. We were talking about maybe going to Hawaii sometime this winter but we were worried about the cost. I searched on the site and found great kona vacation rentals at a fantastic price. Now we are seriously thinking about going and the rentals they featured looked fantastic. What wouldn't be better then to get away from a little while somewhere very warm like Hawaii.

It's not just vacation rentals at the beach they offer, thinking about skiing in Canada or Aspen, check them out for that as well. Live on the east coast, the Caribbean might be closer for you and they lots of vacation rentals at all the popular islands.

No matter where you are traveling to, Asia, Africa, Europe, anywhere in the world, has you covered with fantastic deals on every kind of vacation rental you could want. Before you take your vacation check them out, you will save plenty.

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American Airline Adds Another Emergency Landing To It's Scorecard

An American Airlines flight with 123 people on board landed safely after asking for an aircraft emergency while on its route to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport due to some sort of de-icing issues. The spokesman for American Airline would have been more specific but they laid off all the mechanics weeks ago.

Tim Wagner, spokesman for American Airlines, says the flight from Newark bound for DFW diverted after a light on the aircraft indicted the anti-icing system was not operating correctly. Because there is potential for icing conditions at DFW, the flight diverted to Austin.

The plane was met with emergency vehicles on the runway, but they were not needed. Fortunately emergency personal don't work for the airlines or they would have been laid off also

"The passengers will be put on flights to DFW, and maintenance will repair the anti-icing system," Wagner said, the very second they can find any. In the meantime American Airlines doesn't see any connection between laying off it's entire maintenance crew and the dramatic raise in emergency landings.....the passengers do....but the airlines doesnt.

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Air Canada Is Not Being Nice To Pet Passengers

When I relocated, I was worried about my dog flying across the country on United Airlines. As it turns out, the dogs on United get treated like VIP's, probably more then most passengers. In Canada it's different, they don't want them at all.

Pet owners hoping to fly with their four-legged friends this holiday season will need to consider other transportation options as Canada's two largest airlines announce blackout periods for pet travel.

No animals have been accepted for travel on either Air Canada or WestJet airlines since Dec. 15, with the ban extending until Jan. 6 on WestJet and the following day on Air Canada.

The airlines blame their fur-free policies on "increased passenger and cargo loads" during the busy holiday period.

For its part, Air Canada has recently tightened its restrictions on transporting animals at any time of year.

From Nov. 1 to March 31, pets will not be accepted on any flights on five different types aircraft if outside temperatures dip below the freezing point, the airline says.

When pets are permitted, owners are asked to make their request to Air Canada within 24 hours of booking a reservation. Flying with a furry friend costs $105 each way for domestic and U.S. flights with Air Canada, and $270 each way for overseas destinations.

The issue of transporting Buster has been a sore point for Air Canada in the past few years.

In June 2007, the airline implemented a policy that moved dogs and cats weighing less than 45 kilograms to cargo airplanes, which meant they would be on different flights from their owners.

In 2008, Canadian travellers lodged 12 formal complaints to the Canadian Transportation Agency against Air Canada's pet policy. A year later, the agency ruled that the policy was unfair to pet owners.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seattle Area Casino Resorts

My wife and I have visit several of the casino resorts around Seattle. There is not much written about which is the best or worst and what they offer but through experimenting we have found one that stand out that is comparable to a Vegas resort (the hotel not the casino).

We don't spend much time in the casino's really. The state has Indian casinos but do not operate like Vegas casinos with the games based on lottery or bingo which frankly I don't understand. When we do play it is mainly bingo for fun.

We were very impressed with one of the resorts however. The Tulalip Resort and Casino just outside Olympia reminded the most of the resorts we have stayed at in Las Vegas. The rooms are fantastic and modern with one of the best bathrooms I have seen at a hotel in a long time.

Everything in the room looked brand new and ever thing is very well maintained. The beds were extremely comfortable and the spa services and gym at the hotel were awesome.

If you are searching around for a great casino resort in Seattle to have fun (dont play seriously) and have a great place to unwind for a weekend try this one out.

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Best Deal On Every Cell Phone You Could Possibly Want

I recently moved to the West Coast and found that my carrier I used to use on the east coast didn't work as well here. It had been a long time since I had bought a new cell phone and mine was a bit outdated so I thought this would be the perfect time to find new service and a new cell phone.

I wanted to find att cell phones and service at a good price as they had the best coverage in the area I just moved to. I was also looking for a smart phone so I could have email and office applications on hand which I didn't have on my other phone.

I went to and found exactly what I was looking for. There site made it very easy to find the phone that I wanted with the carrier I was looking for without allot of searching around all over town.

For the holidays they are having a cell phone sale which makes it an even better deal. With the economy making everyone stretch their dollars, here is a way to get a great cell phone or service for yourself or a present for someone in your family for the holidays.

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American Airlines ReOpens Flagship Lounge At Miami Then Announces Layoffs

American Airlines had a busy day in Miami Florida today. They announced the re-opening of their flagship Admirals Club at Miami International Airport, then announced they were laying off 97 employees in January.

The re-opening of the Miami Flagship Lounge continues a tradition of comfort and strengthens American's premium product for First Class international customers traveling to Europe, Asia, Central and South America and Mexico City, as well as full-fare First Class transcontinental customers traveling on three-class aircraft. American also offers Flagship Lounges in four other locations: Chicago O'Hare International Airport, London Heathrow Airport, New York JFK Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

"We're focused on enhancing the travel experience for our valued customers, and the Flagship Lounge facility is an important element in this experience," said Kurt Stache, American's Vice President and General Sales Manager. "It is our pleasure to offer our eligible First Class and qualifying oneworld® customers another oasis amid the hustle and bustle of major airport terminals by providing amenities for productivity, comfort and convenience."

In the same breath they announced Miami International Airport may be one of the few places where American Airlines is increasing its flight capacity. But, come Jan. 30, the company expects to lay off 97 employees there.

So for all the American Airlines passengers in Miami, you have a brand new club, you just wont have anyone to help you in there.

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Great Free Coupons Online

This Christmas is pretty rough and no one has any extra money. When I am online shopping I am looking for the best value no matter how long I have to search. One of the tools I use to save money is by using free coupons from a great web site when im shopping. When I find the best I can from the product I am looking for, online coupons save me even more money.

For an example, this Christmas my mother is coming to visit and she enjoys wine a great deal. The cost of wine at the stores near my house is very high so I went to to see if there were any promotions or coupons for wine from online merchants. I found a promo code that saved me a bunch off my order. had a fantastic selection and a great price, but when I also added the discount promo code I got from I saved even more.

My family and I are on a tight budget right now, just like everyone else I would imagine. Anything we can do to save we do from compairing prices at the grocery to cutting back on eating out. When you are watching your money so carefully dont forget to use all the coupons and promo codes that you can when shopping online. The money you save you can put aside for a vacation when the weather and the economy starts to warm up !

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Snowball Express Bring Joy To Families of Fallen Solders

The snowball express flew 1,430 families of fallen servicemen from the Iraq war to Disneyland in California to bring some Christmas joy at a hard time. The snowball express is a non-profit organization sponsored by American Airlines, Hilton hotels, Disney, Universal Studios and the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW which provides the service free of charge to families.

When American Airlines asked for volunteers, some 500 pilots raised their hands to fly six planes in hopscotch routes to California Tuesday and back Saturday. Pilot Stephen Szuminski of Saline, who typically flies stints to Europe from Chicago, said he planned to chat with passengers until taking over the controls between Phoenix and Los Angeles.

It's a fantastic service to honor those and help the families of servicemen and women who gave their life for our country.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Great Personalized Christmas Cards

My wife really gets into the Christmas spirit, more then I do and I always count on her to drag me into the holiday season kicking and screaming. In the end I am always glad that she has, and it's the things she does to prepare.

Today I got home and she showed me the Personalized Christmas Cards she ordered from They were absolutely fantastic and made my day. They were personalized just the way she liked them and designing your own Christmas cards is a breeze using She included our picture on them, designed the cover and the words on the inside and put a very special touch on Christmas.

Check out how easy it is to create your own Christmas cards on They have hundreds of different design ideas and tools to help you design a very personal card that everyone who gets them will love. The cost is very reasonable, less then some of the "boutique" Christmas cards you see in the store, and they are all yours not the same cards that all the stores sell.

Christmas is coming up fast but with speedy service and delivery there is still time to get your order in for this season or start planning for the next one. Nothing makes Christmas more special then putting your own touch on it, and sending everyone a card you personally designed makes the whole season special.

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Very Nice Stay At The Penns Landing Hyatt

I recently stayed at the Hyatt Penn's Landing on business for one night. I was a little reluctant to book here based on some reviews and I generally have a rule that I wont stay anywhere that didnt score a 4.0 overall unless I know differently about the hotel.

I was pleasantly surprised by the hotel. I found the rooms to be wonderful and large with a great bathroom including a window (I booked a waterview king, dont know if that makes a difference). The room had a great view out of all the windows of the river and ships and it was a corner room with three windows in the bedroom and 1 in the bathroom which is actually really nice to have some sun in the bath in the morning. The room was very well maintained and comfortable. The A/C worked outstanding and kept the room very cold which I like for sleeping. The bed was very comfortable and everything was up to date and working. The wireless internet was 54 mbs and had a great a great signal, no problems at all with that. Sometimes with wireless only hotels you only get 11 mbs, a slow connection but this one was up to date for sure.

I ate in the restaurant and other then being a little pricey the food was very good. The staff was very nice and accommodating. I would have no problem staying here again.

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Start Planning For A Fun Vacation

We are in the middle of winter and the economy is being everyone down. Want a way to tackle the winter blues and save money, start planning your spring and summer vacation now at the best place for a Jersey Shore beach vacation.

Even though we have moved to the west coast, one of things I am going to miss about the east coast is our summer vacations. During winter is definitely the time I start thinking and planning what to do once the weather warms up, nothing help get you through the winter blahs then something to look forward to.

Morey's Piers is a fantastic place to have a summer vacation with the best water parks in New Jersey and right now you can save big !! They are having a sale between December 19th and January 9th that can save you 40%.

These are hard times right now but don't let the winter and the economy get you down, there is a way to get you through both of these crisis, saving big money at Morey's Piers and having a great vacation to look forward to while the cold wind is blowing. Hurry and check it out, it wont last that long.

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Ceasars Palace Las Vegas - Plastic Covered Elegance

I recently stayed at Caesars Palace for a convention for four days.

Rooms - The rooms, while roomy and nice, give you the feeling of cheap. I stayed in the Palace Tower and the room was definitely roomy with a king bed, sofa and desk. The room had a plasma TV and the bathroom was bigger then the room. The AC did not work very well, I could never get the room to cool and I heard many people say the same thing. The shower pressure is so bad you have to jog around to get wet. The tub with jacquizzi is very nice and works well. The room, while it looked recently renovated was cheap, the sheets were cheep, the furniture was cheap even the in room safe is too small to put anything into. There is no coffee maker in the room either. I have definitely stayed at nicer rooms in Las Vegas at Mirage and Bellagio. The price for the rooms is not cheap so you should expect better.

Service - Absolutely horrible. You wait in line for EVERYTHING down to coffee in the morning. Everything is under staffed and all the staff act like they have done you a favor for serving you. The prices are ridiculous bordering on absurd down to the $7 for coffee. It takes an hour to check in, no one helps you with your bags and the line for cabs goes on forever, but of course Las Vegas is more like Disney World now then a gambling mecca so it fits with the theme.

Casino - Save yourself the time and set your money on fire at the door. You dont even have a fighting chance in there

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On The Search For Web Hosting?

For all of us, finding quality web hosting that we can trust at a good price is very important. With the economy being the way it is, price has never been more important but you also don't want to sacrifice reliability and service.

There is a site that provides you one stop shopping for web hosting services no matter the size and service you are looking for. Instead of searching and going from one site to another to compare service and prices, one site gives you web hosting reviews & ratings to save you time and give you the best options.

There are star ratings and the price listed allowing you to search through all the web hosting providers and quickly find the one that will work best for you. Price is important but it's nothing if your web hosting service doesn't provide good quality.

If you are looking to improve your site and the web hosting service you work with its worth checking this site out. It will quickly give you a list of the best options for your web hosting needs based on the service you are looking for, taking the guess work and endless searching off your table.

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Delta Does Away With The DC to NY Shuttle

I used to be a regular flier from DC to New York and always enjoyed the Delta Shuttle which offered one class service, more room and great service.

Delta Airline, deciding that way to many people enjoyed the shuttle, decided to discontinue using MD-88's and start stuffing people into regional jets for the hop.

Delta Air Lines next month will begin phasing out a business-travel tradition on one of the nation's most famous air routes by switching to small jets that will seat about half as many passengers each flight.

By March, the Delta Shuttle's 15 daily round-trip flights between New York's LaGuardia and Washington's Reagan National airport will be on 76-seat Embraer jets instead of 148-seat MD-88 jets used now.

Delta will continue to fly MD-88s on the New York-Boston shuttle route. It also offers 15 daily round trips there. The change will leave US Airways as the only airline still flying large jets on the historic New York-Washington "shuttle" route that has catered to political and financial power brokers for nearly 50 years.

Delta, the world's largest carrier following its acquisition of Northwest Airlines, also said Monday it is offering early retirement and early severance programs to reduce its workforce of about 75,000. The reductions are tied to its plan to cut 2009 capacity 6% to 8% in response to weak demand. Delta did not say how many jobs it wants to eliminate.

Delta has been flying the New York-Washington and New York-Boston shuttle routes since acquiring the former Pan Am Shuttle in 1991. Until earlier this year it had done so with all large jets.

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United Airlines Brings Children With Illnesses Some Joy

Andrew Luckabaugh could hardly contain himself. The Fairfax County 9-year-old was aboard a Boeing 777 at Dulles International Airport, bound for the North Pole. Soon, he would be meeting Santa Claus and telling the big guy what he wants for Christmas this year.

"A Wii," Luckabaugh said with a smile yesterday, referring to the video game system.

Luckabaugh, who is in remission from Hodgkin's disease, was one of about 150 children who headed to the North Pole yesterday, along with their families, as part of United Airlines' annual Fantasy Flight. The program, started in 1990, takes children with life-threatening conditions and terminal illnesses from hospitals and hospices across the region on a make-believe flight to visit Santa on his home turf. United employees, along with other sponsors, volunteer time and services each year to make it an extra special Christmas for such children.

"It was an emotional day," said Chazz Banks, manager of international operations for United Airlines and this year's Fantasy Flight chair. "Just to see the smiles on the faces of the children who are suffering, the parents -- we give them a day off."

The interior of the plane was decorated with tinsel, red ribbons, wreaths and Christmas ornaments. Flight attendants wore bells and blew cinnamon-scented bubbles. Some wore antlers. Others wore elf ears and jester hats. There were candy canes for everyone.

For Linda Cassell, 38, of Purcellville, the flight was a way to honor her son, Christopher, who died of a metabolic brain disorder in August, a week after his first birthday. She hoped to inspire others who might be going through similar hardships. She and her husband brought their daughter, Allyson, 4, on the trip.

"I'm just blown away by the happiness that surrounds these kids and their families . . . for what they have to go through," she said.

An announcement came over the intercom: "Ladies and gentlemen . . . we are United Sleigh Ride One with nonstop service to the North Pole."

The aircraft shook as it sped down the runway. Just as the plane was about to lift off, its engines were put in reverse and the intercom announced that the plane had reached its destination. Passengers erupted with applause and cheers. They disembarked to several gates that had been transformed into a winter wonderland: There were Christmas trees, arts and crafts, face painting, music and food. Clowns and other characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Ronald McDonald, greeted the youngsters and posed for photos.

And then came the big guy himself, Santa, with Mrs. Claus. They handed out presents to the children and their siblings based on the kids' wish lists. Children's Hospice International, an Alexandria-based nonprofit organization that partnered with United on the flight, had forwarded the lists to Santa.

Four-year-old Caleb Hawbaker of Hancock, Md., danced in circles, wrapping his arms around the legs of Big Bird while his mother, Julie, 39, watched over him, smiling. Caleb, who was diagnosed with cancer in May, had undergone chemotherapy the night before, which left him feeling sick and experiencing pain in his legs.

"I was able to tell him, 'You have chemotherapy today, but tomorrow we're going to the North Pole,' " his mother said. "It's been really hard, but with stuff like this it makes it better. . . . This helps him forget about it."

Markie Noah, 5, of Fargo, N.D., was also dancing. His father, Mark, laughed hard as he watched. The two had come into town a week ago with Markie's sister, Mary, 7, for Markie's biannual trip to the National Institutes of Health and the Kennedy Krieger Institute for treatment. Markie has a rare genetic disorder, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, of which there are only 500 known cases in the United States, his father said.

"This is a very, very special event," Mark Noah said. "He's very keen about flying. Combining flying with Santa Claus -- you can't ask for anything more."

"It just tugs at your heart," said Christine Smith, the head flight attendant, wearing bell earrings and a pair of furry antlers. Smith has volunteered on Fantasy Flights for 18 years.

"To me, this is Christmas," she said.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Funny Airplane Story From Seattle

A helicopter with a pilot and a single passenger was flying around above Seattle when a malfunction disabled all of the aircraft's navigation and communications equipment. Due to the darkness and haze, the pilot could not determine the helicopter's position and course to get back to the airport.

The pilot saw a tall building with lights on and flew toward it, the pilot had the passenger draw a handwritten sign reading "WHERE AM I?" and hold it up for the building's occupants to see.

People in the building quickly responded to the aircraft, drew a large sign, and held it in a building window. Their sign said "YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER."

The pilot smiled, waved, looked at his map, determined the course to steer to SEATAC airport, and landed safely.

After they were on the ground, the passenger asked the pilot how the "YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER" sign helped determine their position.

The pilot responded "I knew that had to be the Microsoft support building, they gave me a technically correct but entirely useless answer."

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Life Is Rough In Austrailia's Airport Lines

A QANTAS check-in attendant was slapped and another worker collapsed from stress in a bad start to the holiday season at the airline's Brisbane domestic airport terminal.

An information desk officer was also removed from her post after being abused by passengers as tempers frayed in long queues, the Courier-Mail reports.

Australian Services Union branch secretary Julie Bignell said it was a timely reminder of what was ahead for Qantas' customer service staff.

"There's still a couple of weeks before it gets really bad and already you've got passengers attacking workers," Ms Bignell said. "We have asked Qantas to put up signs stating that it is not acceptable to abuse staff and that attacking staff is illegal."

She said the female passenger who slapped the male check-in attendant across the face was not allowed to fly with the airline.

You would be charged with assault if you did that on the street. But if you do it at the airport there's a level of acceptance because of the queues," Ms Bignell said.

Last year Qantas agreed to hire 90 more staff for Brisbane Airport, which is now Australia's second busiest airport.

The decision came after staff were spat on and abused when they left their posts to assist an elderly woman who collapsed and died in a long queue.

Ms Bignell said staffing levels had improved but despite the boost to frontline employee numbers there were still staff shortages and problems.

"A lot of people still aren't trained," she said.

Yesterday's slapping incident was the first time a worker had been physically assaulted, Ms Bignell said.

A Qantas spokeswoman said she could confirm there was an incident involving a staff member and a passenger which resulted in the police being called.

"As a result the passenger was refused carriage on Qantas for 24 hours," the spokeswoman said.

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Delta Airlines Getting Rid Of More Employees

Delta Air Lines will offer voluntary severance payouts to most of the 75,000 employees at Delta's and Northwest's mainline operations.

It's part of a plan by the world's largest airline to cut an unspecified number of jobs.

Chief Executive Richard Anderson and President Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees that the program is similar to one earlier this year that Delta used to trim about 4,000 jobs.

The executives say the cuts are necessary because Delta will be reducing systemwide capacity in 2009 by 6 percent to 8 percent in response to slowing demand for seats on airplanes.

Northwest is Michigan's leading passenger air carrier. It handles about 55 percent of the passenger traffic at its Detroit Metropolitan Airport hub.

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Delta To Start WiFi Service Next Month

Delta Air Lines plans to begin rolling out its in-flight Wi-Fi service next week.

Atlanta-based Delta plans to launch the service on six planes next week, and gradually add service to more aircraft. The first flights to have the Wi-Fi service will be Delta flights on MD-88 and Boeing 757 aircraft flying out of New York. The service will be on flights out of Atlanta by early 2009.

The Wi-Fi will cost $9.95 for flights three hours or shorter and $12.95 for flights over three hours.

The broadband Wi-Fi service, called Gogo and provided by Itasca, Ill.-based Aircell, will allow passengers with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and other devices to access the Internet and send and receive e-mail, texts and instant messages.

“The last few years we’ve really focused on a differentiated product on board,” said Chris Babb, Delta’s product manager for in-flight entertainment and media.

Delta has been testing the service and operated a flight Thursday to officially accept the Aircell system and test it on a flight from Atlanta to Buffalo, N.Y. About 10 planes are expected to be outfitted with the service by the end of the year.

Delta still plans to put the service on its domestic fleet of more than 330 aircraft, including Boeing 737, 757 and 767-300 planes, by sometime next year. It also plans to test the service next year on merger partner Northwest Airlines’ planes. The service will not be available on Delta Connection flights and will be limited to North America because Aircell relies on ground towers.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Newest Five Diamond Hotel On The Vegas Strip

If the economy is slowing down, no one told the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which opened this addition across from Treasure Island in January, 2008. This 3,000-all-suite honeypot is designed to attract and keep the high rollers. Indeed, there's no reason for guests to ever leave the grounds. From the moment they park in the underground lot to their first steps into their 720-square-foot Palazzo Luxury suite (the hotel's smallest), serious respect is paid to the players.

What to do with all those winnings? The Shoppes at the Palazzo connect to the Grand Canal Shoppes; the Canyon Ranch SpaClub is part of the renowned family of spas of the same name; and celebrity chefs Charlie Trotter and Emeril Lagasse have restaurants here. For really big winnings, Las Vegas' second Lamborghini dealership is waiting downstairs.

As anyone who's been fortunate enough to visit the Italian countryside and seaports knows, the country is famous for its hospitality and a diverse range of diversions.

The Palazzo was created with precisely that in mind. The beauty of Capri. The luxurious serenity of Portofino. The couture of Milan. The culinary greatness of Tuscany. The graciousness of the people. Here it all comes together to fashion the epitome of a lifestyle of luxury.

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Think US Airport Security Is A Joke, Check Out Canada

An extensive RCMP report on Canada's airport security has concluded that gangs and smugglers have infiltrated the country's largest airports.

The inquiry, entitled Project Spawn, went over hundreds of police reports at Canada's eight biggest airports and concluded that 58 crime groups are operating within the airports.

The Globe and Mail obtained a summary of the report, which said the gang activity was concentrated mostly within Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Liberal Sen. Colin Kenny, who was chair of a Senate committee on security and defence in the last Parliament, said it was "a shameful day" for Canada.

He told CTV Newsnet Thursday that this is the third report to say that gangs had infiltrated Canadian airports and the government has not responded in kind.

Transport Minister John Baird promised a five-point action plan, including legislative changes, to improve airport security.

"We're committed to tackling this challenge," Baird told CTV Newsnet Thursday evening.

Kenny called for tighter security, primarily for airport employees, and especially those working near aircraft.

"Those working around the aircraft . . . get searched one time in 50 when they are going to work," Kenny said. "They should be searched when they are going in and coming out."

Baird said that privacy laws were creating challenges for security, as employees can legally only be searched on their way to work, not during or when they leave.

Kenny had strong words for the department that runs airport security and said they were not up to the task.

"Transport Canada has been asleep at the switch and the job should be given to someone who understands security," he said. "The RCMP would be my first choice."

Baird said airport security is hurt because of a lack of communication between police, Transport Canada and the airports.

"(Privacy laws) are an important part of our fabric to ensure that Canadians' privacy are protected . . . but what we got to do is ensure we can share information so when the police discover real concerns about a particular employee we have the capacity to get that information and move quickly to revoke security clearances," Baird said.

Critics have pointed out that if organized gangs have easily infiltrated Canadian airports, there appears to be nothing stopping terrorist organizations.

But Baird said the RCMP never uncovered anything of a terrorist nature in their report.

The report said that hundreds of people were suspected in smuggling operations taking place from 2005 to 2007. Nearly 300 of the suspected smugglers were current or former airline employees.

There are 88,000 people who work in Canada's airports.

According to the report, the most commonly smuggled drug is khat, an African plant with narcotic properties. It is usually smuggled into Canada from the U.K., where it is legal.

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Delta Plane Makes Emergency Landing in SC

A Delta Air Lines plane has made an emergency landing at a South Carolina airport after reports of smoke in the cockpit.

Delta spokesman Kent Landers says the MD88 landed safely at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport just before 5 p.m. Thursday.

Landers says the flight from Washington's Dulles International Airport to Atlanta was diverted after crew members reported the smoke.

Landers says the plane blew several tires when it landed but the 145 passengers and crew members got off the plane safely.

It's not known what caused the problem.

Landers says the airline will conduct an investigation.

He says Delta will get the passengers to Atlanta on other flights.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hotels Closing Down Mini Bars

Hotel minibars, those dens of temptation ogled by sugar-seeking kids and midnight snackers alike, are going the way of traditional room keys at some hotels.

Major hotels such as Hyatt Regency and the Sheraton are dispensing with them.

Those who are ditching the in-room luxury cite three main factors: lackluster sales of all but a few items; the hassle and expense of restocking minibars every day and having to toss expired items; and travelers' desire to bring their own, less costly, goodies.

"In so many ways, minibars are becoming a bit of a nuisance," said Leo Percopo, general manager of the 1,000-room Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, which opened in late September without minibars. "People are fine with bottled water. They don't need all that other stuff."

John O'Connell is food and beverage director for Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch, which took minibars out of its 492 rooms during a $50 million makeover this fall and replaced them with empty refrigerators. He said that the resort basically sold one of everything but not a lot of anything to make minibars financially worthwhile. Profit margins on the pricey goodies are similar to what the resort sees in its restaurants and bars but on a fraction of the volume.

"We did make a profit, but not enough," he said.

However, no one is writing the minibars' obituary. Plenty of hotels and resorts around the country swear by them.

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Much Like A Hooker, United Airlines Adds To A La Carte Menu

Want to feel like a frequent flyer for a day and speed through the premier check in and security line, United Airlines will be happy to give you the service you should get to start with for a fee.

Airline passengers are willing to pay extra to check a bag or reserve a seat with extra legroom. Now United Airlines is betting some will pay more to join fast-track airport-security lines and qualify for priority boarding on the airplane.

For an extra $25 each way, economy-class passengers can join first- and business-class passengers and elite members of the airline's frequent-flier program in special "premier" lines at select airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

"This was the No. 1 service our customers said they would be interested in purchasing if we offered it," said United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski. "People who don't have the status but want to feel like they have the status for a day can buy the premier status and have access to those same lines."

The Transportation Security Administration, which operates the security checkpoints, has streamlined its systems to reduce wait times at most airports.

The average wait time at Sea-Tac's central checkpoint on a busy Monday morning, for instance, is six to seven minutes.

Still, United's surveys show some passengers are willing to pay extra for fast-track check-in and security lines as well as for the privilege of boarding the aircraft ahead of others, Urbanski said.

"A lot of our customers are business travelers and get to the airport 45 minutes in advance of their flights."

United and other airlines have been adding fees and selling new services to offset falling revenues due to higher fuel prices and declines in passenger traffic.

From the perspective of a frequent flyer on United, trust me keep the $25 and buy something for your wife instead, it's not worth it !

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Airlines Figure Out Secret To On Time Performance

Air carriers in the U.S. have finally figured out the secret to improving the nations airline on-time rate, reduce flights and no customers.

The on time rate in October was the highest in decades thanks to the fact that airlines have reduced flights by 30% and no one is flying anymore. Helped by not having to actually have to fly that much, U.S. air carriers had 86% of their flights on time.

Complaints also dropped. The DOT said it received 627 complaints about airline service from consumers in October, down 42.3 percent from the 1,099 complaints filed in October 2007 and 8.3 percent fewer than the 684 received in September of this year.

Of course not flying anywhere didn't help regional carriers Comair and ASA who still managed to have the worst on time rate, a spot they have held since the pretty much the airlines were founded. Continental was a surprise as it usually has a very good record. American Airlines was at the bottom of legacy carriers on-time rates.

A complete breakdown of the best and worst follows:

Highest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Pinnacle Airlines – 90.7 percent

2. Northwest Airlines – 90.0 percent

3. Hawaiian Airlines – 89.9 percent

Lowest On-Time Arrival Rates

1. Atlantic Southeast Airlines – 80.3 percent

2. Mesa Airlines – 80.5 percent

3. Continental Airlines – 81.4 percent

Most Frequently Delayed Flights

1. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2396 from Newark, NJ to Detroit – late 85.19 percent of the time

2. American Airlines flight 933 from New York JFK to Miami – late 80.65 percent of the time

3. SkyWest Airlines flight 5727 from Portland, OR to North Bend, OR – late 80.00 percent of the time

(There were only three flights in October that were late 80 percent of the time or more)

Flights with Longest Tarmac Delays

1. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2356 from Birmingham, AL to Houston, 10/15/08 – delayed on tarmac 308 minutes

2. Alaska Airlines flight 75 from Seattle to Juneau, AK, 10/23/08 – delayed on tarmac 269 minutes

2. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2406 from Dallas Love Field to Houston, 10/22/08 – delayed on tarmac 269 minutes

3. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2497 from Houston to Wichita, KS, 10/15/08 – delayed on tarmac 256 minutes

4. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2335 from Kansas City, MO to Houston, 10/22/08 – delayed on tarmac 249 minutes

6. ExpressJet Airlines flight 2207 from Wichita, KS to Houston, 10/15/08 – delayed on tarmac 244 minutes

Highest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Mesa Airlines – 1.1 percent

2. American Eagle Airlines – 0.8 percent

3. Alaska Airlines – 0.8 percent

Lowest Rates of Canceled Flights

1. Northwest Airlines – 0.2 percent

2. Frontier Airlines – 0.2 percent

3. Continental Airlines – 0.3 percent

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Banking And Credit Card Rant

Hello everyone, this is going to be a little off topic for my blog but like everyone, my family and I have been impacted by the recession mostly inspired by the banking industry. Between lowering credit limits, raising interest rates for no reason and the cost of everything going up, it has led to some serious thoughts about our banking relationships and the industry as a whole.

First and foremost, what I resent the most is that U.S. taxpayers pretty much own the banking industry thanks to our government. The banks facing a financial crisis found out they couldn't pay their own bills and the taxpayers in the U.S. had to bail them out without charging them a late fee or raising the interest on their bail out package.

The whole concept to the banking bail out was so banks would start lending money, but the CEO's who drove the banks into failure to start with, took our money and kept to, I suppose to pay out bonuses to their executives, all the while lowering my credit limits on my cards and raising my interest rates.

It takes a certain kind of arrogance to beg the government, i.e. the taxpayers, for money and then turn around and screw the U.S. people but here are the banks doing exactly that. Here are a few things we have decided to do:

1. Write your congressperson and demand consumer protection from abusive credit card practices by the banks we all own now.

2. If your bank wants to lower your credit limit or raise your interest rate, don't keep your accounts their anymore. If they don't trust you with their money, don't trust them with yours.

3. The benefit of having an American Express Card is that there was no credit limit so when you travel for work you don't have to worry about the reserves placed on your credit by rental car companies and hotels. American Express has started placing credit limits on their cards we pay annual fees for membership for. If American Express does it to you, cancel your card immediately, a credit limit makes an American Express card just like any other and Visa is free every year.

We own the U.S. banking industry, just like we own AIG and the U.S. automakers now. Do not sit by and let these companies operate as they always have, you have leverage now, contact your Representative and complain.

Most importantly don't every forget. If your bank is not there for you in the bad times, you can't trust them, take your business elsewhere.

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Zagat Survey Reveals Top 10 Small Hotels

The 2009 Zagat Survey has released its list of the top 10 small hotels, 100
rooms or less, in the United States.

1. Twin Farms in Woodstock, Vt.,

2. Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn.,

3. Casa Palmero in Carmel, Calif.,

4. Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyo.,

5. Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, Calif.,

6. Ch√Ęteau du Sureau in Yosemite, Calif.,

7. Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys,

8. Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va.,

9. Post Ranch Inn in Carmel, Calif.,

10. Tu Tu' Tun Lodge in Gold Beach, Ore.,

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TACA Airline Passengers Stuck On Plane For 9 Hours in LA

TACA International Airlines on Wednesday disputed reports that it turned down assistance from federal authorities as a jetliner carrying 191 passengers sat on the tarmac for nine hours at LA/Ontario International Airport.

Flight670 from San Salvador, El Salvador, was diverted to Ontario airport when heavy fog enveloped Los Angeles International Airport early Monday morning. The airline, airport officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities continue to blame each other for miscommunication during the lengthy ordeal.

"These delays, caused by circumstances out of the airline's control in addition to generating operational costs, also generate an emotional cost for our passengers," Julio Gomez, a TACA vice president, said in a written statement. "It is only natural that the airline always looks for ways of solving and preventing them, whenever possible."

The Airbus A320-100 jetliner landed at Ontario airport just before midnight and waited to be refueled before moving on to LAX. However, the fueling company told the pilot that it was too busy handling about 40 other cargo and passenger flights that had been diverted to Ontario due to the fog.

In the meantime, customs officials apparently told the airline that only three customs agents were available at Ontario airport, according to TACA's statement. Customs authorities then instructed the plane to wait so that the passengers could be processed at LAX, airline officials said.

At least one passenger called 911, prompting Ontario airport police vehicles to surround the plane.

TACA claimed that airport police officers stood outside the jetliner to prevent passengers from disembarking, but airport officials disputed that allegation.

"The airport police department's function is to ensure that unauthorized people do not access the security-restricted areas of the airport, which includes the airfield," Castles said. "Further, airport police did not prevent the aircraft from taking off. This was a dispute between the airline and customs."

The grounded flight was further delayed when a new TACA flight crew took over the plane at 7a.m. because the previous crew had exceeded maximum flight hours.

Airport officials were finally allowed on board at 6a.m. to service toilets and provide passengers with food and water. Medical personnel were also allowed on the plane to examine at least three passengers who complained of minor ailments. None was hospitalized.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Delta Airlines Announces New Frequent Flyer Rules for 2009

Delta Airlines rolled out it's changes to it's frequent flyer program for 2009 recently in an email. This will also start the merger of Northwest's World Perks program with Delta's Skymiles.

A big benefit from this merger is that segments now count for elite status. Delta did away with counting flight segments towards Medallion levels in 2006 but they have made a comeback.

Delta Air Lines said on Thursday it will adopt a popular feature of Northwest Airlines' frequent-flier program, as it aims to merge the two reward systems by the end of 2009.

Delta will allow its travelers to qualify for elite status by flying a certain number of segments, in addition to flying enough miles. The segment rule comes from Northwest, which flies many short routes around the Midwest that connect through its hubs. So, a single flight from, say, Minot, N.D., to New York with a stop in Minneapolis would be two segments.

Delta said the new rule will begin Jan. 1. Delta acquired Northwest in a deal that closed Oct. 29 and is working to integrate the two carriers over the next year to two.

Delta said it will add a third tier to Northwest WorldPerks awards. Northwest currently has two tiers for domestic travel, with tickets generally available for 25,000 miles and 50,000 miles. Delta's tiers for domestic travel are 25,000, 40,000, and 60,000 miles.

Delta also said all its frequent fliers will continue to earn at least 500 miles per flight, even when their flight is shorter. Some airlines have begun awarding the actual miles for short flights.

Delta travelers who have both its SkyMiles accounts and Northwest's WorldPerks accounts will be able to transfer miles between them beginning early next year. The carrier expects to merge the two programs entirely late next year.

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Airlines Adding Lots Of Fees to Not So Free Tickets

Fees associated with redeeming frequent-flier miles are taking off.

Don't even think about calling the airlines to redeem your miles – book online. You'll be hit with fees of up to $40 just to have a live person book that ticket. Most airlines charge $10 to $40 to redeem miles by phone. Spirit Airlines doesn't even offer booking by phone.

Book award tickets well in advance. Many airlines charge a fee if you redeem miles less than 21 days before you travel. US Airways charges $50 to $75; American $50 to $100; Continental and Frontier $75 (14 days or less); United $75 to $100; and Delta $75 to $150.

If you book an award ticket and change it after it's issued, you could pay up to $250. The same goes for canceling a ticket and redepositing the miles.

You may be hit with a fee just for redeeming miles. Frontier charges $25. US Airways charges $25 for continental U.S., Alaska and Canada travel, $35 for Caribbean and Latin American travel, and $50 for Hawaii and international travel.

Many travelers use miles to upgrade their seats. American and Continental charge when you upgrade. (United will begin charging in July 2009.) For example, for travel within the continental U.S. on American, you'll pay $50 along with using 15,000 frequent-flier miles each way.

Southwest is the exception when it comes to fees. The airline doesn't charge to book by phone, for rush fees or for changes or cancellations.

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Travel and Leisure's 2008 Readers Poll

Travel and Leisure magazine conducted a readers poll for 2008 looking for the best U.S. domestic airlines. The results from the poll were recently released:

1. Virgin America

2. Midwest Airlines

3. JetBlue Airways

4. Sun Country Airlines

5. Hawaiian Airlines

6. Frontier Airlines

7. Southwest Airlines

8. USA 3000 Airlines

9. Alaska Airlines

10. Horizon Air

The surprise for me was Midwest Airlines which I was not that familiar with. Comfort is one of Midwest's selling points. The airline offers more legroom and an elaborate and diverse menu.

Seatguru has United Airlines Economy Plus with the largest seat pitch of 36", however for those travelers who are not elite with United, the Economy Plus seats come at a price.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

NYPD Urges Hotels To Increase Security After Mumbai Attack

Hotels in New York are vulnerable to a Mumbai-style attack and police sent three investigators to India to learn how to better protect the U.S. landmarks, authorities said Friday.

The New York Police Department spelled out some of their findings and recommendations for tighter hotel security on Friday at a conference for scores of private security officials.

"In many ways, the city of Mumbai bears striking similarities to New York," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the audience at police headquarters. "It is the country's financial capital, a densely populated, multicultural metropolis and a hub for the media and entertainment industries. All of those features make it a compelling target."

The attacks, Kelly added, also "represent a shift in tactics toward low-tech weaponry and a coordinated effort by a small group of men."

The deployment of officers to Mumbai is part of a program that began after Sept. 11, 2001, in which the nation's largest police department began posting counterterrorism officers in Singapore, Madrid and other large cities to trade information about security and potential threats. The officers also have been dispatched to the scenes of overseas terror attacks to speed access to evidence that could help deter strikes against the city.

The NYPD officials advised the hotels to train their staffs to be on the lookout for anyone loitering in lobbies or guest floors. They also recommended being suspicious of guests booking unusually long stays - a sign someone may be using a room as a staging area for conducting extensive surveillance or storing weapons.

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Cathay Pacific Facing Rebellion From Cabin Crew

Hong Kong's flagship airline Cathay Pacific was Wednesday facing a rebellion from its 7,000-strong cabin crew over an offer of unpaid leave to offset the effects of the economic slump. The airline last week offered all cabin crew unpaid leave of between two weeks and 12 months because of a downturn in business brought about by the global financial crisis.

Pilots on the airline, which earlier this year recorded its first operating loss since 2003, are also being offered unpaid leave with immediate effect as routes are trimmed.

However, the powerful Flight Attendants Union, which represents the majority of the airline's cabin crew, Wednesday warned its members not to accept any unpaid leave.

In a circular to its members, the union warned that flight attendants' bonuses, retirement funds and other entitlements would be adversely affected if they took unpaid leave.

"Unlike during (the 2003) SARS (crisis), the company has not negotiated with the union reasonable terms when offering unpaid leave this time," the circular said.

"The terms are so harsh that it is as if you are begging to let them help you help them, or you are allowing yourself to be double punished for helping them out."

Titled "10 reasons why you should not take unpaid leave," the circular concluded: "If there really is a surplus of crew or the company is going to reduce flight frequencies, we will all get more time off on full pay if we don't take unpaid leave."

In a memo to staff last week, Cathay Pacific said unpaid leave was being offered "as a result of the reduction in planned passenger capacity growth".

The memo said leave was being offered on a voluntary basis only and stressed: "The airline will ensure it has sufficient crew for operational needs at all times."

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

United Airlines Getting Rid Of Thousands Of Employees

In the new year there is one thing you can look forward to from United Airlines, no employees or mechanics around the country. The other thing you can look forward to is that the remaining employees are bound to be happy little campers as they try to focus on customer problems while their mind is on all their friends walking out the door and wondering when they are next.

United Airlines plans to let go of 1088 workers at bases around America, according to layoff notices and the unions that represent the workers.

The third-largest US airline also plans to close maintenance facilities at the Newark, New York-LaGuardia and Philadelphia airports on January 11.

United has been working for several months toward reducing its headcount by 7000 positions as it trims the amount of flying it does. It's been using a combination of leaves, buyouts, and furloughs to eliminate those jobs.

The latest furlough plans are part of that 7000 total, which also includes plans to lay off roughly 1500 office and management workers.

United told workers in October that it plans to close maintenance facilities at Newark, LaGuardia, and Philadelphia, and said much of that work would shift to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

United also told workers it would close hangars in Boston and JFK, although some maintenance would still be done in those locations. It said growing international departures would mean some growth in activity at Washington Dulles airport.

The 1088 job cuts would include some 490 ramp and customer service workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, spokesman Joseph Tiberi said yesterday. That includes 253 at Chicago O'Hare and 153 in San Francisco around January 25, and 84 at Los Angeles International Airport on February 3.

United also notified the state of California that it plans to furlough 598 San Francisco mechanics around January 11. That was a revision from a previously-disclosed plan to furlough 414 this month.

United's flight attendants avoided involuntary furloughs because enough of them took leave, early retirement, or other voluntary measures.

United and other airlines have been reducing the flying they do.

Yesterday, United reported that it cut November capacity by 14.2 per cent, but its traffic fell faster, by 17 per cent.

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