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Cheap NYC / Food Travel / New York Restaurants / New York City / Budget Travel / Restaurant Week / Travel News / → All Tags
Go and get 'em! Reservation booking has just opened up here for the semiannual NYC Restaurant Week, aka one of our favorite (and super highly recommended) city food events. NYC's Winter Restaurant Week(s) 2015 runs from February 16 to March 6.
Get over to OpenTable quickly to snap up the best and newest tables, lest you get stuck dining at some Theater District steakhouse that survives on tourists being loose with their money and not too particular about what's on their plate. The choices for winter 2015 are better than ever, with a record 340 participating eateries.
The official announcement gives a taste of what to expect:
It's good to be the king... of snazzy air travel.
Everyone knows that the U.S. President is constantly on the move, not only within our own country, but all over the world. But what exactly does a year of Presidential travel look like?
Stranded at The Airport / Flight Delays / Blizzard of 2015 / JFK / Virgin Atlantic / Travel News / → All Tags
Even though NYC was largely unaffected by the #Blizzardof2015 last night, with only 10 inches falling in the area, a few unlucky passengers on a London-bound Virgin Atlantic flight from JFK Airport were stuck inside a plane for six hours, waiting to take off, but then a passenger got sick and needed to be removed.
Then the plane had to be de-iced but time had run out. The travelers on flight VS004 were then told the plane would not be taking off tonight after all due to the weather. Given that 7,000 flights in the Northeast were cancelled because of the storm, this was not so surprising.
Unfortunately for the passengers, that decision was made at midnight, an hour after the 11pm curfew for road and subway closures, which meant they were forced to spend the night in the airport.
Passengers were given $15 vouchers to McDonald's, the only restaurant open in the airport. And then they had to find places to sleep inside the airport. Their luggage could not be be taken off the plane because reportedly there was no one qualified to take it off.
The Daily Mail, of course, has photos and eyewitness accounts from passengers. Be hold lots of uncomfortable sleeping positions!
Virgin Atlantic has given the following statement on the event:
Shopping Travel / SkyMall / Travel News / Souvenirs / Lists / → All Tags
A notice at the top of the SkyMall website reads:
There are changes in the air, but we're still here! Place your order today.
That's an understated urgent plea from a dying company, as SkyMall's parent company announced that it's filing for bankruptcy. Where did things go wrong for flyers' favorite guilty pleasure? Well, Ars Technica says SkyMall blames their downturn in business on the rise of the use of smartphones while in flight; the FAA allowed for "Airplane Mode" back in November 2013.
Whatever the true reason, the internet has raised its voices (via tweets and Facebook) to bid a fond farewell to the catalog, which seems to have been more successful in making travelers wonder "who buys a giant garden Yeti for $2,250?" than in actually selling them.
Canada's old passport under a black light
Traditionally, how cool your passport is has to do with how worldly you are, aka, how many fancy stamps you have. But in the case of Canada's passport, the opposite may be true.
For at least the last two versions, our friends up North have been designing a passport where the addition of a stamp may deface what really makes it shine: When put under a black light, vivid colors appear and create a psychedelic party. Check out the images below:
Airline Safety / Airport Safety / Travel Safety / FAA / TSA / Travel News / → All Tags
There is some scary stuff going on in American airports right now. The terrorist attacks in France understandably put airport security officials on edge, and then Al Qaeda published a bomb recipe for the creation of detection-proof explosives.
That one-two had TSA personnel scrambling to boost security. Most visibly, travelers began to see heightened random inspections. But Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson brushed off complaints by tersely stating that "the reasons for these measures should be self-evident."
In a situation like that, you want to allocate resources as efficiently as possible. There are things that look important but are trivial, and things that look trivial but are important. One of the concrete goals is to avoid unnecessary searches.
So everybody was super-thrilled to learn that the FAA was suspending a long-running program under which their safety inspectors were allowed to skip TSA checkpoints. Apparently the system was used by at least one person to bring guns on board airplanes. Oops.
Typically on airplanes, children under the age of two don't require their own seat and can sit on the lap of their parent, free of charge. However some airlines do charge up to 10 percent of the ticket price for such tiny passengers. But according to reports, a few airlines want to change this policy and up the fee for lapchildren.
Brazil's airlines are leading the charge, proposing that the cap on fees for children be waived, allowing each individual airline to decide what to charge customers. You know - $25 for the bag, $200 for the baby. Brazil's National Civil Aviation agency, Anac, is drawing up the "in virtue of tariff liberty" plan that will be decided on by the end of 2016.
Travel Tech / Technology / Cruise Travel / Ships / Carnival / Cunard / Azamara Club Cruises / Royal Caribbean / Quantum of the Seas / Azamara Journey / Budget Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
You know that old idiom, “everything happens in threes?” Well, it absolutely applies in the case of WiFi on cruise ships this season. At-sea connectivity is a notoriously sore spot in the cruise industry, since the standard satellite systems bring embarrassingly low bandwidth at a shamefully high cost. In most cases, we’re talking $0.75 per minute. For real.
Several years ago it was normal to be charged ~$300 just to keep up some minimal internet access for emailing and some social media-ing on a 7-day cruise, and as of 2014 not much had changed...other than the passengers’ desire for more time online at a better price.
Then along came Royal Caribbean’s “smartship” Quantum of the Seas and its lower cost, lower orbit, higher bandwidth satellite technology, includinggaspunlimited plans.
There are certain travel topics that are guaranteed to rile up the Internet. Overweight passengers and children on planes are always reliable, but so is anything that has to do with airport fashion choices (pajamas, travel pillows, flip flops, and so on).
It turns out that blaming people for things they don't like is also not very popular. Go figure.
Last week Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View's veteran economics columnist, posted an article making a very basic point about how the airline industry works. She explained that, since airline customers purchase their tickets based on cost, airlines will be driven to cut costs.
The headline was a little provocative: "Hate Flying? It's Your Fault." But the argument shouldn't have been very controversial. As we've explained before, the profit per passenger really is wafer thin.
The Internet disagreed and its culture of outrage went into overdrive.
No official change has been brought forth by officials, but travel agents and tour operators are telling the media that they've been informed of the changes and are beginning to pass on the information to their clients.
The goods news for us Americans, though, is that we still don't need a visa to enter the U.A.E. so long as the stay will be for less than 30 days. If you plan to stay longer than a month, you'll need to do some paperwork.
Before everyone began to break for the holidays, Italian authorities fined TripAdvisor $610,000 for what it calls a failure to properly vet and monitor its user reviews. TripAdvisor and consumer-review websites are no strangers to these criticisms in general, but this is the first time a country or destination has done something about it and levied a fine.
While most are genuine in their reviews, still others log on with a motive that doesn't include making an honest review. How can you tell? And how can you get the most out of TripAdvisor, without being led on by a phony review? Below, we provide a few tips when evaluating reviews:
Tragedies / AirAsia / Tony Fernandes / QZ8501 / Travel News / Indonesia Travel / A320 / Indonesia AirAsia / → All Tags
"Until today, we have never lost a life." - AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes, 28 December 2014.
There's been no resolution yet to the question of what happened to Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320 (tail PK-AXC) which disappeared while en route from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore, and we're not going to speculate.
More and more there's been an issue with the responsible reporting of aviation incidents. FOX News is an infamous offender, prone to flagrant speculation and misinformation, but they're not the only ones. Even CNN can get their facts wrong. For example, today the CNN Asia Pacific Editor, Andrew Stevens, compared the search area to the size of California. In reality it's less than half that size; Stevens made a mis-calculation between square kilometers and square miles, but issued no correction. Media loves a soundbite like that California size comparison, so automatically CNN spreads flawed information.
If you'd like to follow along with the latest in the search, we recommend checking out the few sources we trust in these matters: