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Happy Hump Day! How about you take out your mid-week frustrations with us as we spiral out of control with a new Travel Rant. This time, contributor Linda Marsicano has had enough of your bad plane fashion sense. Seriously, we're not asking for you to be Chanel catwalk-ready but like, can you try a little bit?
Dear Inappropriately Dressed Fellow Airline Passengers,
Greetings flight mates! I understand the hey-day of glamorous air travel is over – and I accept that. I can also recognize that people want to be comfy when flying these days. Me too! But what I can’t accept is downright disrespectful ensembles that are better suited for the pool deck than the flight deck. Since no passengers bill of rights seems to include the right not to be flashed by indecent exposures, I thought we could set some ground rules here that we can all agree on.
1. Save the short-shorts for the beach and playing Daisy Duke at Halloween. This jean-short wearing trend on airlines seems to be favored by the traveling teenage set who also believe undergarments are optional. They’re not. Try this at home: if when you sit down the inside of your upper thigh (or worse!) is exposed, your shorts are too short. If you’re a teenager, change. If you’re older than a teenager, change and maybe ditch your Forever21 credit card.
2. Bras were invented for a reason – wear one. I know the guy in seat 7A appreciates your assets, but my children are a bit young to watch live porn. Which leads to me to a related point: Yes, your doctor does do good work, how happy you must be! But can you save the ample cleavage for your bikini so the rest of us can concentrate on the in-flight magazine for entertainment?
Travel Rants / Bad Ideas / Travel Politics / Cigarettes / E-Cigarettes / E-Cigarettes on a Plane / Smoking / → All Tags
TGIF and thank god for another entertaining travel rant, this time courtesy of our long-time ranter, er, contributor, Omri. #Fistpump
A few years ago, we described our feelings about what was then a growing movement to ban e-cigarettes on planes. My feeling? A ban would be silly and pointless and completely unenforceable.
Don't get mewrong, it's not that I think e-cigs are 100% safe. There are some metals in the vapor, as a result of heat applied to the device itself, that aren't great for you.
But when you consider what's already in the air you breathe on airplanes, to say nothing of what's literally crawling around on the seats and tray tables, I just can't bring myself to care all that much.
We realize that America long ago gave up on "live and let live," but really? Banning e-cigs on airplanes? Have we solved literally every other problem, everywhere in the world?
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!
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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.