Tag: Travel RantsView All Tags
Long-time Jaunted readers are familiar with our rants about advertising flak who use douchey lines like "now you can travel without traveling" or "now you can see the world without ever leaving your home" or something equally horrible.
Traditionally the topic in question has been virtual reality technology: Google Maps and Google Street View and so on. The idea isn't horrible - it assumes that experiencing new places is important - but you can't really get those experiences from technology. We've had cause to express our irritation about any implication otherwise (see here and here and here for examples).
Turns out, we never knew how good we had it with the "virtual travel equals real travel" crowd. Those folks are veritable Edmund Hillarys compared to the PR geniuses who sent us a press release about the new Old Spice's new Fresher Scents collection.
Actual line: "guys can finally escape the urban jungle, and experience the calming effects nature smells have on the mind and body - without having to rub tree bark under their armpits."
Holy sh*t. Armchair travelers, meet Old Spice's Armpit Travelers.
Picture it: you're traveling, and about to head out on a tour that will visit photo-worthy landmarks. What do you pack to bring? Your digital camera, which fits in your pocket? Your iPhone, which already has an internal camera that's ten times better than the one you took to prom 10 years ago?
Or perhaps your iPad, which has a camera of equal quality, but is packaged inconveniently in an unwieldy machine that requires its own equally unwiedling carrying case that you inevitably fumble with as you try to open to expose the camera lens?
If you answered the last: UGH.
There are two kinds of travelers in the world: those who travel everywhere with their iPads, and those of us who loathe them because — well, we're trying to enjoy the vista of this lovely tropical waterfall, and you keep block our view by holding up something the size of a street sign.
Travel Rants / Airport Ripoffs / LAX / PHX / Airports / Airport Restaurants / Layovers / Vegetarian Travel / Healthy Travel / → All Tags
On Sunday, I was sitting in Terminal 4 at LAX, having a coffee at Campanile during a layover. I was seated in one of the last bar stools, right by the glass display case where sandwiches and salads are sold to go. I was enjoying this seat for the sake of people watching, but for the most part I was minding my own business.
Then, someone came up and bought a salad, and I almost fell off my bar stool. I couldn’t believe what the charge had been for the chicken Caesar salad, the one in the clear plastic take-away container. I also couldn’t believe the customer had gone through with the purchase after he heard the price. Ready for this? Including tax, $19 and change!
Travel Rants / Airports / MIA / Admirals Club / American Airlines / Frequent Flyer Miles / → All Tags
Let’s face it. When you’re at an airport you hate and are annoyed by everyone else. In such a tense environment, it's rare for someone to be courteous, even if that means a simple smile.
Personally, we love being at airports. Everyone is coming and going all over the world and they rarely come together and interact during this transition. It's all so serendipitous, if it weren't for the stress.
Recently while flying American Airlines from New York-JFK to Miami, our first plane suffered from some Navigational Equipment problems, so we were held an additional 50 minutes which inevitably got us there in time to watch our connecting flight push back from the gate with no representatives in sight. The next flight (from MIA to EYW) was 3 hours later. That meant 3 hours stolen from our Key West beach time. AA did end up compensating me 500 miles and a food voucher.
"One is an example. Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend."
Something has been troubling us lately. Recent footage and images of emergency aircraft evacuations show passengers consciously disobeying flight crew commands to leave their luggage onboard. Fools are grabbing carry-ons and shopping bags, hopping down the emergency slides with them, and running for their lives.
Granted, emergency landings and evacuations are an extremely rare occurrence and it's likely you'll never have to experience one. Still, should you find yourself queuing up to shimmy out an emergency exit, please remember to put the well-being of fellow passengers before that of your duty-free impulse buys.
Take, for instance, the tragic incidence of the Asiana 214 crash landing at SFO last year. Video footage of the evacuation (as the plane burns!) has passengers running with armloads of bags. Several bags are clearly from duty-free shops. To say this is embarrassing is a gross understatement, especially considering three passengers lost their lives.
Every so often, a traveler needs to have a good rant. Here, Jaunted Editor Cynthia shares a few thoughts on an old guidebook and its dwindling power.
The book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die was first published in 2003. It was a steamroller of a hit, topping best seller lists (especially around graduation time in the spring) and finding its place on the bookshelves of anyone who’d listed “travel” as one of their interests.
I was a bookseller at the time, enjoying steady employment after a year of wandering Europe “on a shoestring," and getting that book into shopping bags was something of my specialty. Indeed I was suited for the job, having racked up postcard moments at nearly 100 of those 1,000 sites.
Ten years later, what has changed? The book is still for sale, now ranked #95,806 on Amazon. My area of expertise remains the sharing of travel information, although you’re getting it for free now. A shift has come, alas, in the way travelers compile bucket lists.
While we love to see that money is being invested in airports to make the flying experience more comfortable, sometimes we grow a little concerned that terminal upgrades are tilted too far towards the luxury traveler. In this rant, our contributor wonders when budget travelers will catch a break.
When I landed in Philly this weekend and picked up a copy of the Inquirer, the front-page story was all about the big upgrades taking place at Terminal F. The headline read: "Need an iPad? Or a Shower? A Haircut? Fine Dining? A redesigned Terminal F provides travelers with amenities they can't fit in their carry-ons." It continued:
Social Media / Twitter / Airline Industry / British Airways / Lost Luggage / Bad Ideas / Travel Rants / → All Tags
The growth of Twitter has had an uneven effect on the airline industry and its relationship to travelers.
On one hand, it has enabled the development of a real-time concierge service that really does help customers. We've publicly tweeted about airline-driven mistakes, then gotten transfered to direct messages, and then gotten incoming mobile phone calls...and then gotten our problems resolved. There are articles and even studies about the effectiveness of airlines' Twitter war rooms.
On the other hand, there's something about Twitterand it's the same thing with Yelp and TripAdvisorthat transforms some people into gigantic douchebags. Or at the very least, it allows them to publicly highlight their douchebaggery in breathtaking ways. Let's take this gem of a userthe guy who paid $1,000 to promote a tweet attacking British Airways for temporarily misplacing his father's luggageas a case study.
Jaunted Contributor Will McGough has tapped his toe in many a conga line created by the TSA and, despite all the wasted time, has refused to buy into any "fast pass" programs. Here's why:
You're all no doubt familiar with how frustrating the tax-dollar-funded TSA Security Checkpoints can be, especially when returning to the States and funneling through customs. As a result of the TSA's inefficiency, both with customs and security screening in general, many "side businesses" have popped up to allow people to be pre-screened and bypass the lines. These programs, such as Global Entry and Clear, are user-funded, meaning that the individual traveler pays extra for the privilege.
On the surface and in practice, these programs seem like slam dunks for frequent flyers. I mean, why wait in line when there are other options? Why not spend the $20 a year for Global Entry and bypass the peasants waiting in line? Really, it's a no-brainer, right? Well, allow me to present the other side of the coin, a perspective no one seems to be talking about.
Travel Rants / Frequent Flyer Miles / First Class Travel / Business Class Travel / Open Threads / → All Tags
Picture this: you're all settled into your Business Class seat on what will be a 9-hour transatlantic flight when a man approaches to ask if you'd move to the bulkhead/front row so that he may take your seat in order to sit next to his colleague. You decline, and the man sweetens the deal by offering a $100 cash bribe. Do you take the money and move? Or stay put?
This was recently the case on a Stockholm to Newark flight (either United or SAS) for a traveler, who was approached by internet entrepreneur and Fab.com founder Jason Goldberg. Goldberg, rebuffed even after the $100 offer, was so miffed about the whole interaction that he took to venting on Facebook, and it naturally became a Valleywag story.
Travel Rants / US Airways / Travel Hell / DEN / PHL / Airports / → All Tags
We know a good traveler has tons of travel horror stories to share, some of which are no doubt hilarious, but have you ever boarded the wrong flight? Jaunted Contributor Will McGough successfully failed recently in Philadelphia, finding himself on a flight to Orlando when he wanted to go to Denver. How can this happen? He gives his first-hand account:
In all honesty, I never thought it possible. I mean, really. Between the terminal and desk monitors, the ticket scanning, and general awareness, how the hell could you get on the wrong plane? So many things would have to go right, err, wrong, for it to happen.
Which is why I was so confused. Granted, I was running a little late, but I was on time. I checked the terminal monitors upon clearing security, and saw my flight, US Airways 483 from Philly to Denver, gate A10. Having only about 10 minutes until the gates would close (it was about 8:30ish, flight left at 8:55), I hustled up, slowing my pace upon seeing the flight information on the monitor behind the desk and a line still formed at the gate.
There are different ways of "making it" in the world of airline travel. You could gain lifetime elite status on your favorite airline. You could travel the world on miles you accumulated in all kinds of clever ways. Or you could write a complaint note about a miserable experience that's so damn elegant that no less than Richard Branson declares it to be "brilliant." So congratulations Arthur Hicks. We know nothing about you in terms of who you are or where you live, but you've made it.
Branson blogged Hicks's letter - which wasn't even sent to Virgin, but to LIAT - last Friday. We've blockquoted it below from what we think is the original online source so you can read it for yourself. It's among the more elegant, witty beat-downs we've read in a long time.
The experience itself sounds miserable but, very importantly, it happened to him, and not to us, and not to you. So no worries. The P.S. is what really makes it shine.