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Archive: October 2008

The Delta-Northwest Merger and You

Delta Air Lines has acquired Northwest Airlines for $2.8 billion. What does it mean for travelers? Not much...yet. Both airlines issued statements stressing business as usual. Travelers will continue to book and buy tickets through the airlines' respective phone numbers/Web sites. They'll check in with the airline they're flying. Members...

By Carol Sottili | October 31, 2008; 9:41 AM ET | Comments (4)

United's New Door-to-Door Baggage Program

Yesterday, United announced that it's starting a new door-to-door bag delivery service for flights within the continental U.S. Here's how it'll work: You can either drop your bags at the nearest FedEx, or the Door-to-Door Baggage service will pick them up at your home and office. They'll get shipped overnight...

By Christina Talcott | October 30, 2008; 7:42 AM ET | Comments (4)

Great Places in America: 2008

Earlier this month, the American Planning Association named its picks for Great American Places. There are three categories, Neighborhoods, Streets and Public Places, and while some of them are obvious (New York's Central Park as a great public place), some are intriguing and can serve as a guide to travelers...

By Christina Talcott | October 29, 2008; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (6)

Places to See: St. Louis

Think vacation, and St. Louis isn't the first city, or the 20th, to come to mind. But, having just returned from a short trip there to visit my daughter in college, I can attest to its attractiveness as a tourist destination. It's a quick two-hour nonstop flight, and sale fares...

By Carol Sottili | October 28, 2008; 11:54 AM ET | Comments (5)

Are Restrictions on Liquids Coming to an End?

Tired of the 3-1-1 rule? Frustrated by paper boarding passes? Relief may be around the corner. The Transportation Security Administration announced in its blog on Friday its plans to ultimately do away with the restrictions on liquids in carry-on luggage. With new X-ray machines, it hopes to eliminate the size...

By Christina Talcott | October 28, 2008; 7:45 AM ET | Comments (3)

Chat Follow-Up: A Truly Amazing Race

During last week's Travel chat, we received a question about adventure competitions along the lines of reality TV show "Amazing Race" -- but without the commercial disruptions. I suggested citywide scavenger hunts, a fun way to learn about a new destination that is way more interesting than a passive tour...

By Andrea Sachs | October 27, 2008; 7:21 AM ET | Comments (4)

Friday Photo: Beach Blanket Bird

Sometimes the beach is just the beach... Except when someone brings their pet bird to the shore with them. Today's Friday Photo winner, Meralis Plaza-Toledo, snapped this photo on a visit to Puerto Rico this summer. She writes: "I took this picture at the end of August on a beach...

By Christina Talcott | October 24, 2008; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

How to Avoid Run-ins With Deer

AAA Mid-Atlantic recently released a statement about the dangers of hitting deer on the highway during the animal's mating season. I'll admit, the e-mail caught my eye with its subject line: "A Deer and Present Danger.". The numbers of deer-on-highway kills have been decreasing since they peaked at 2,129 in...

By Christina Talcott | October 23, 2008; 9:44 AM ET | Comments (6)

One-Day Airfare Sale to Europe

Today (Wed., Oct. 22) only, Lufthansa is offering rock-bottom fares from Washington Dulles to several cities in Europe. Fare is $568 round trip, including all taxes and surcharges, to Frankfurt and Munich. Slightly higher sale fares are available on flights to Athens, Budapest, London, Paris, Warsaw and Zurich. You must...

By Carol Sottili | October 22, 2008; 3:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

News Round-Up: Baggage Restrictions, Air Travel With Kids and More

What's going on in travel news this week? Here's an abbreviated list of some hot (and/or funny, helpful, etc.) stories: * Starting Nov. 1, Continental's making it harder to over-pack your carry-on with new size restrictions. Like most airlines these days, Continental's mandating that carry-on bags' dimensions measure no more...

By Christina Talcott | October 21, 2008; 1:50 PM ET | Comments (2)

AirTran's On-Board Upgrades

More from the Department of In-Flight Sales: We all know that feeling: You board a plane, juggling your carry-ons, and feel twinges of jealousy walking past the business class seats to your tiny seat in coach. If you've ever thought, "If only I could sit there," AirTran is now selling...

By Christina Talcott | October 21, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (2)

Virgin America Gets Creative: Coffee, Tea, Energy Drink?

Airlines need to make money, and selling seats on the plane is no longer the only way to raise a buck. Many now charge extra for bags, snacks, drinks and assigned seats. But Virgin America is getting even more creative, partnering with a company called Vitalize Labs to sell its...

By Carol Sottili | October 20, 2008; 1:28 PM ET | Comments (3)

Friday Photo: Red Roofs and Rainbows

This week's Friday Photo winner, Audrey Scott of Vienna, took this postcard-worthy photo in Vilnius, Lithuania, where with the town's autumn leaves and red tile rooftops contrast against gray sky. Her trip to Lithuania was part of her round-the-world journey with her husband, which they are chronicling on their blog,...

By Christina Talcott | October 17, 2008; 1:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

Savings for Students

College students seem to develop a knack for the cheap and the free, but if you or yours hasn't yet discovered STA Travel and Student Universe, go there before booking that trip home for the holidays. Both companies have been around for a while, starting out as bricks-and-mortar travel agencies,...

By Christina Talcott | October 16, 2008; 9:54 AM ET | Comments (1)

Deals: The Financial Meltdown Thaws Prices in Iceland

"OUR LOSS - YOUR GAIN .... DEVALUATION IS SILVER LINING FOR AMERICANS," pleads a page on Iceland's official tourism Web site. They aren't kidding. The financial crisis may be a worldwide thing, but nowhere have things turned so serious so fast than this once-expensive island nation of 320,000. With Iceland...

By Scott Vogel | October 15, 2008; 7:33 AM ET | Comments (2)

Car Rental Fiasco: Epilogue

Last week I shared my experience with a Hotwire car rental booking gone wrong, and I'm happy to report that I received an e-mail from Hotwire a few days ago saying I would get a full refund for the mysteriously canceled reservation. Still no word on what happened to the...

By Christina Talcott | October 14, 2008; 1:11 PM ET | Comments (8)

'World's Largest Cruise Night' Sale Packs Savings

If you're contemplating booking a cruise, mark Oct. 16 on your calendar. It's the World's Largest Cruise Night, a sales event sponsored by Cruise Lines International Association. (It goes on for 24 hours, but it's called cruise night because lots of agencies hold special evening events.) Last year, about 4,000...

By Carol Sottili | October 10, 2008; 7:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

You Paid For It: AIG's Retreat Destination, Up Close

It's the kind of publicity you just can't buy. Times are tough in the tourism business; accordingly, hotel chains around the world are pulling back on their advertising buys. But that's okay, there's another way tourist-hungry resorts can gain attention in a down economy: host a retreat for AIG executives....

By Scott Vogel | October 9, 2008; 7:18 AM ET | Comments (58)

Travel Tools: New Fee Chart on Southwest.com

By now, everyone knows about the airlines' new fees for checked baggage, snacks and drinks, all of which used to be complimentary. We've run a number of stories about those extra charges, and now Southwest Airlines has posted a helpful chart listing all its competitors' fees. The chart was created...

By Christina Talcott | October 8, 2008; 9:52 AM ET | Comments (4)

Short-lived Travel Deals

OpenSkies, a premium airline now owned by British Airways, yesterday announced sale fares between New York and Amsterdam, and New York and Paris. The sale will continue until the first 1,000 tickets are sold on each route, or until Oct. 15, whichever comes first. Round-trip fare in PREM+ class to...

By Carol Sottili | October 7, 2008; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (1)

It Came From the Chat: Random Acts of Kindness

During yesterday's chat, I asked people to send in their stories of above-and-beyond customer service, and the chat was quickly flooded with tales of compassionate airline gate agents, sympathetic locals and other do-gooders who turned lemons into lemonade for stuck-in-a-bind travelers. Here are some I didn't get a chance to...

By Christina Talcott | October 7, 2008; 6:50 AM ET | Comments (3)

Monday Rave: Rental Car Save

There was some kind of computer glitch, I suppose, that cancelled my last-minute car rental at Logan Airport in Boston. I certainly didn't call to cancel the car I would need to get to Cape Cod for my friends' wedding. If you were reading last week, you'd know that rental...

By Christina Talcott | October 6, 2008; 9:53 AM ET | Comments (4)

Southwest Security Line Changes

Southwest is apparently trying to make itself even more attractive to business travelers by offering priority security lines for its best customers. Travelers holding business select tickets, or those with "A-List" designations (must fly at least 18 round-trip flights per year) will get access to the fast lanes, which will...

By Carol Sottili | October 3, 2008; 6:58 AM ET | Comments (4)

Forbes Rates the Airlines

On Wednesday, Forbes.com published the results of a study it conducted to determine which American airlines are the most reliable -- and unreliable. Ten major airlines were judged in six categories based on five years' worth of stats provided by the Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Transportation....

By Christina Talcott | October 2, 2008; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (9)

New Car-Sharing Options

Enterprise and U-Haul have recently launched car-sharing programs -- rent a car by the hour, gas and insurance included. Our fair city has hosted car-sharing programs -- first Flexcar and Zipcar, then just Zipcar -- for years, but Enterprise and U-Haul are joining the party now too. Let's look at...

By Christina Talcott | October 1, 2008; 7:39 AM ET | Comments (3)

 

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