January 26, 2016: If you’ve been traveling to or from the east coast this past week, there is no doubt things have been tough — and that is especially true for those scheduled to fly during the blizzard. Over four days, more than 12,500 flights across the nation were cancelled due to this awful weather.
Now if you think it’s going to be any easier to travel with flights back in the air, think again. Airlines are going to do what airlines do best, and make things as difficult as possible to rebook your flight — and they’re going to be working extra hard to make you, and the thousands of people trying to escape this ice age, miserable. Fortunately, there are some steps from USA Today that you can take to make this whole experience a little more bearable.
January 25, 2016: Since airlines continue to find creative ways to rip off frequent travelers, we have to find creative ways to take advantage of their faulty, money sucking system. Fortunately, Industry insider, Rick Seaney, knows his way around the airline calendars and put together a list of the cheapest days to fly. Whether you’re visiting family a few states over, hitting the Caribbean shores this spring, or adventuring to the other side of the globe, be sure to shoot for these dates for the best deal possible.
January 23, 2016: Parking these days in big cities is not easy and not inexpensive. But maybe a couple of phone apps can help?
BestParking displays rates by price; Parker includes navigation to the nearest parking spot in a lot; SpotHero can reserve a space at a discounted rate. Others worth a look — ParkMe, Parking Panda, and ParkWhiz. Maybe the pilots at Alaska Air, who have twice now landed on the taxi way at SEATAC, could use one of these to help navigate their landings?
January 21, 2016: There was time — seems like long ago — when flying was fun — more of a social occasion one dressed for and looked forward too. From the legendary Pan Am Clippers to the first Boeing 707 and then 747s. Travel was an occasion to celebrate. Airlines focused on their image and quality of customer services. Some airlines even used top designers/graphic artists to create their image and marketing materials — Saul Bass, Emilio Pucci and Alexander Calder set the stage for colorful attention generating images that, along with others, can be found in a colorful coffee table style book called, “Airline Visual Identity, 1945-1975.” The 430 page book showcases the golden era of flying through colorful airline posters and ads — everything from Continental’s Proud Bird with the Golden Tail to TWA’s legendary “Up Up and Away.”
January 19, 2016: Our friend, Chris Elliot has put together a list of apps that can help you finally take back control in making your flight more comfortable. “I’ll give you $50 to take your window seat” — Seateroo allows you to arrange to swap seats with someone else on your flight. Routehappy.com scores seats on various amenities such as location, leg room, seat width, and power outlets to help you find the best spot on the plane. A similar app, SeatGuru, has a comprehensive list of seat sizes and can warn you when you’re about to purchase an uncomfortable seat. Unfortunately we’re still waiting on an app that will let us know where to find the furthest seat away from a crying baby.
January 18, 2015: United Airlines drew a $2.7 million fine from the government recently for violating rules aimed at protecting disabled passengers and preventing long tarmac delays.
The Transportation Department said there was a significant increase in 2014 in disability-related complaints regarding United. A department review found that United had failed to give passengers with disabilities prompt service getting on and off planes, and in many instances damaged or delayed the return of wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
The department cited United operations at Houston International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Newark International Airport and Washington’s Dulles International Airport.
United also was fined for five lengthy delays in which passengers were kept waiting in planes on the tarmac at O’Hare airport during severe winter weather on Dec. 8, 2013, and for another delay at Houston Hobby Airport on May 20, 2015.
January 14, 2016: Don’t expect airport departure delays to improve this year — US carriers have found a way around the new government rule that fines airlines $27.50 per passenger for airport runway delays of more than 3 hours — if extensive delays are anticipated, airlines are just canceling flights. Kinda of sad when the FAA tries to enhance passenger service and the airlines find a way to not only not comply but make it even harder for travelers — SHAMEFUL don’t your think?
January 12, 2016: For many travelers, finding a hotel with a clean bed is a must — and many will spend 2 to 3 times more to ensure it. However, hotel workers from luxury resorts to motels have begun revealing the dirt of their cleaning rituals through the secret-sharing app, Whisper.
From confessions such as, “We do change all the sheets and towels, but unfortunately the blankets almost never get washed,” to, “sometimes when I’m lazy, I reuse the sheets on the bed and make them look nice … I always feel bad for the next people.”
And if you think the bed is the only thing in danger, keep a close eye on your room service as well. “I work at a hotel and sometimes work room service. We never bring our buy lunch, because we pick off plates before they go up.”
January 11, 2016: During a private “fly-in” fishing excursion in the Alaskan wilderness, the chartered pilot and fishermen left a cooler with bait in the airplane. A bear smelled it. This is what the bear did to the plane. The pilot used his radio and had another pilot bring him 2 new tires, 3 cases of duct tape, and a supply of sheet plastic… He patched the plane together, and flew it home!
January 6, 2016: Really not sure what the point is on this Emirates Air self-promotion video that seems to focus on adding visual fun to the standard airline pre-take off safety message? Hopefully this doesn’t replace the needed reminder message shown on every flight?