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Haiti Field Trip / Haiti Travel / Volunteer Travel / Voluntourism / Soo Ah M Lee / Earthquakes / Dangerous Travel / → All Tags
In the wake of Japan's tragic events, the world has been quick to forget Haiti's 7.0 earthquake, which ruled the headlines through 2010. As the country continues to rebuild, the tourists slowly trickle back. Jaunted special correspondent Soo Ah M. Lee recently returned from a medical volunteering mission in Port-Au-Prince, and will share her Haiti travel stories and voluntourism tips all this week. This is her story:
I flew down to Haiti from Chicago, on American Airlines. When I first landed in Port-Au-Prince, my first thought after exiting the plane was, “is this really a third country in need?” You see, unlike some Caribbean Islands (ie., St. Maarten) where you walk down the portable stairs out of the airplane and load immediately into a bus, Haiti wants to show off its fancy, newly built airport.
While walking down a corridor towards customs and immigration, I felt the air conditioning running full blast; there were even escalators. All this was before customs, and based on what I have seen so far, I thought my Haiti experience wasn’t going to be so bad. Boy was I in for a rude awakening…
Political Travel / Haiti Travel / Wyclef Jean / Music Travel / Presidential Travel / Celeb Travel / → All Tags
In case you haven't already heard, brace yourself for this news: Wyclef Jean is seriously considering running for President of Haiti. He's already filed the paperwork to participate in the election on November 28, and we can expect an official decision to come on August 7.
Don't make us bring up Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, but the transition for a movie or music star to political office can be pretty easy if they are a different sort of triple threat: they've got the right amount of previous positive political activity, drive and inspiration for the future and support from more than just their fans. Lucky for Wyclef, he's three for three there, so the step to presidency in his troubled home country is well within reach.
Haiti Travel / American Airlines / MIA / PAP / Earthquakes / Airline News / → All Tags
January 12. That was the day that Haiti suffered the devastating 7.0 earthquake and the day that American Airlines ceased their commercial flights to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti's capital, on account of the damage to the airport and the country in general. But now, over a month later, the airline is the first to resume their flights, after resuming abbreviated service last Friday.
Actually, American never stopped flying between the US and Haiti during the last month plus; instead of carrying paying passengers however, the flights continued packed with supplies and air workers.
So how much does it cost to fly there this week?
While big-name singers like Alicia Keys and Madonna used their pipes to raise more than $58 million in the "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon on Friday, actor-activist Sean Penn was on the ground of the disaster-torn country to lend a hand.
The star delivered medical supplies and transport doctors to those whose lives were devastated by the January 12 earthquake as part of his charity, the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization. In Port-au-Prince and around the capital, Penn gave out water filters, went to a clinic, visited out a food-distribution site, and checked out the efforts of soldiers from the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.
Airports / Airport News / Earthquakes / Haiti Travel / FAA / → All Tags
It's been over a week now since the devastating 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti and finally, relief supplies and international help is pouring in like thick lava. We told you before about the state of the Port-Au-Prince Airport, which was basically a man with a radio somewhere on the ground, assisting what small planes and helicopters he could with their limited landings. But today, news arrives that the FAA are lending a much-needed helping hand.
WIth up to 200 aircraft now landing at the limping airport, the FAA has kindly dispatched one of their portable air traffic control towers, a 44ft high, 12ft wide and 8ft deep structure that runs on diesel fuel. Special technicians are heading down along with it, so that it can be up and ready to direct in more assistance within the next 48 hours. Before the tower goes up however, we will note that conditions have improved since earlier in the week, when there was just the one guy with a radioit's now a few people at a folding table outside.
· US FAA Sends Temporary ATC Tower to Haiti [Jaunted]
· Relief from the Sky: What the Airlines are doing to help Haiti [Jaunted]
· A Man With A Radio Is All That's Left Of The Airport In Port-Au-Prince, Haiti [Jaunted]
· Haiti news [Jaunted]
As we reported last week, Spirit Airlines was giving away enough loyalty miles for a free flight to anyone who donates $5 to Haiti by Jan. 17. But, Spirit isn't the only airline getting involved in the relief efforts. Here's a look at a few other airlines and what they're doing to help:
· American Airlines: American is giving customers a chance to earn 250 bonus miles when they donate at least $50, or 500 bonus miles for a donation of $100 or more to the American Red Cross through Feb. 28, 2010. The airline, in conjunction with American Eagle, is also sending three flights to Haiti filled with 30,000 pounds of relief supplies, food and water.
· Continental Airlines: Continental has a program for OnePass members in which they can donate their miles to relief groups, including the Red Cross.
More airlines, after the jump
It's probably that by now, in addition to all of the coverage of the horrible earthquake and its aftermath in Haiti, that you've also heard about how cruise ships are continuing to stop at their "private" beaches in Haiti, effectively swatting aside human suffering and need for the power of the almighty dollar and a shipload of vacationers demanding the destinations promised.
Years ago, we were on one of the ships that stops in Haiti and yet our boat suddenly skipped it on account of "political instabliity." We didn't get to party on the beach in Labadee, but we did have an extra day at sea. Why couldn't the cruise line do that in this case, with more than just political instability at hand, but an estimated 200,000 deaths and widespread human crisis?
Excuses, excuses...after the jump!
Earthquakes / Haiti Travel / Disasters / Tragedies / American Airlines / Frequent Flyer Miles / → All Tags
If you're looking to donate to a Haiti earthquake relief charity but don't want to wait till George Clooney's MTV celebrity-filled telethon on Friday, American Airlines is offering an alternative through the American Red Cross.
Make a contribution to the American Red Cross and the airline will award your do-gooding with bonus AAdvantage miles. A minimum $50 donation will get you 250 miles and a pledge of $100 or more will earn you 500 miles.
Earthquakes / Haiti Travel / Disasters / Tragedies / Spirit Airlines / Volunteer Travel / Frequent Flyer Miles / → All Tags
All day today and yesterday, ways to do your part to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti have been publicized on Twitter, Facebook, and on the news. Even celebrities are throwing their weight behind some of the text-to-donate schemes, but how can you be sure it's all legit?
Unless you really do the research, it's all a crapshoot with those texting charities and money boxes at gas stations, so we're throwing our weight behind the charity efforts of an airline, of course. Specifically Spirit Airlines, who will give you enough loyalty miles for a free flight if you donate only $5 to Haiti by January 17.
On their website, you can login or sign up for the Spirit Airlines frequent flyer program (Free Spririt) for free, and then choose who you'd like to donate to: The Red Cross, UNICEF, or Wyclef Jean's charity Yéle Haiti. After completing the donation form and sending at least $5 to the charities, Spirit will credit your account with 5,000 miles if you're among the first 200,000 to do so, which is enough for a roundtrip flight if you have the Spirit Mastercard, or half of a one-way flight if you don't. Granted, it'll take 6-8 weeks for the miles to drop into the account, but it's for a good cause. Go here to participate and donate.
· HaitiRelief [Spirit Airlines]
· A Man with a Radio is all that's left of the airport in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti [Jaunted]
· Spirit Airlines News [Jaunted]
Tragedies / Haiti Travel / Earthquakes / Disasters / Airports / Airport News / → All Tags
As medical air and media begins to flood into Haiti following the devastating 7.0 earthquake of two nights ago, we're hearing reports of complete destruction that is affecting 1/3 of the country's population, and inhibiting the arrival of more help.
Yesterday evening, rumors on Twitter did not help, when people circulated the false statements that UPS was allowing free shipping of packages to Haiti and that American Airlines and Jetblue were flying any volunteers and medical personnel to Haiti for free. The last thing the country needs right now are planeloads of people who might have goodwill in mind, but will only spill into the fray already occurring on the streets, without much organization. The airlines are only working with the UN and embassy to send selected medical professionals, so don't pack your bags yet.
Even if you could up and go to Haiti to help, the airport at Port-Au-Prince is barely functioning and is doing so dangerously.
After the jump, Anderson Cooper explains the situation at the airport
Last time we tried to visit Haiti, we were turned around on account of safety concerns surrounding a presidential election in the country, and it probably doesn't help that a friend's entire family fled the country years ago. These are the type of negative views on Haiti that former president Bill Clinton seeks to reverse in his position as a special envoy to Haiti. He made another visit to the struggling country and specifically addressed the need for tourism. So, are you ready to head to Port-au-Prince for a weekend away? But what we really should be asking is if Haiti is ready for you.
In his goodwill trip to encourage tourism, Clinton didn't exactly take the most tourist-friendly route:
Matt Damon and musician Wyclef Jean help deliver food to one of the many cities in Haiti affected by Hurricane Ike this week. The island nation has been slammed by four tropical storms this hurricane season, leading the Haitian-born Jean to organize a special UN aid effort there with Matt's help.
Meanwhile, a performance in which Damon played, shall we say, a supporting role took home an early Emmy on Saturday.
The Emmys aren't till next Sunday, but the Creative Arts Primetime ceremony bestowed a statuette on comedian Sarah Silverman's kiss-off to ex-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel, "I'm F#@&ing Matt Damon." Ben Affleck was not thanked for his role in Kimmel's follow-up regarding the actor and the TV host's special relationship.
· Matt Damon Is in Haiti to Help Hurricane Victims [ICYDK]
· Booster Travel: Matt and Ben For Barack [Jaunted]
· Matt Damon Uses Fairly Unoriginal Fake Name at London Hotel [HC]
· Celeb Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: AP via Yahoo]