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JANUARY 24, 2001 WEEKLY TRAVEL NEWSLETTER
This Week's Travel Newsletter
Web Cam's Of The Week
WEB CAMS OF THE WEEK WEBSITE OF THE WEEK
Cancellations.com is a free public service presented by AccuWeather, Inc. We utilize the latest technology, to collect, aggregate, store, and present data for on-demand public access. In addition, Cancellations.com protects the privacy of this data in a variety of ways to ensure the security of this web service.
Initially, Cancellations.com was presented to the public as the Internet alternative for weather-related closings and delays for schools, business, local governments, and various other organizations. This service has grown to include an array of other services, including Postings by E-mail, online calendars, and personalized web pages, making Cancellations.com the Internet’s premier FREE communication web service.
This system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for use by registered members who wish to communicate emergency or priority announcements to the people in their communities, as well as to display schedules and information about their organizations for public access. Utilizing our search functions, visitors can access this information at their convenience.
Search the site and discover the functionality and ease-of-use that has made Cancellations.com the #1 choice for communicating schedule and event changes on the Internet.
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Oh I forgot to mention last week, when I flew to Chicago (I was in a
3 cabin plane), there was a lady who asked to get business class when she
got on the plane. The Purser (head flight attendant) said, "sorry, I can't
do anything about it, but you still have time to ask the gate agent what
they can do". Well, the gate agent said her ticket was not upgradeable.
The lady then proceeded to try to talk to the first officer, who was just
walking by, about it and the purser caught her just in time and told her
to go to her assigned seat. Before the plane took off, she
snuck up to business class anyways. The flight was almost over
when the purser noticed her, and told her to go back to coach. (Keep
in mind this was after the premium service; wine, 3 course meal..... ),
and not to get off the plane when we landed because she was going
to have to pay the difference. Well, the lady was balling, and sure enough
she got charged a full business class fare which was around $2,000. That
stinks, I heard of this being done, but never witnessed it. I guess I would
be crying too.
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Most surveys indicate that business travelers' top concern regarding air travel is on-time performance,. The Department of Transportation tracks the airlines in this regard and publishes statistics in its monthly Air Travel Consumer Report (www.dot.gov).
You can actually ask for the on-time performance of any flight when you make your reservation. Most travelers don't know about this, but the on-time performance for individual flights is tracked monthly on all reservations systems. When making your reservation, ask the agent for the on-time performance of the flight, and you will be given the score for the flight on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 meaning that the flight was on time between 1 and 10 percent of the time, and 9 meaning that the flight was on time 90 to 100 percent of the time in the preceding month. The airlines do not openly publicize this, so few people ever inquire. Always ask if being on time is crucial in your decision. (These scores are also usually listed with on-line booking sites.)
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Booking a stay at an all-inclusive resort requires some research. You may have visions of knowing upfront what your cost will be, almost as if you could leave your credit cards at home. Read the fine print, and you're apt to be disappointed. Items commonly excluded include certain watersports and brand name drinks.
These resorts can be bargains, but they should be evaluated based on what they include in the all-inclusive designation. They are also not the best choice for people who like to explore destinations, rather than spend most of their time on the resort property. Three "free" meals a day sounds great, but if you're not on the resort property when the dinner bell sounds, it's a lost benefit.
Reading the brochure or website doesn't tell you all you need to know. Some all-inclusives excel in service; others are less than acceptable. Since guests have unlimited access to many features and amenities, they tend to use them to their optimum and each guests's access can suffer. Particularly bad all-inclusives seem to operate on a theory that once they have your money, why try to please you? You have to wonder if they ever get any return guests.
Some resorts serve well-prepared food; others serve a form of cooking somewhere between school cafeteria and a cheap Las Vegas buffet. Your seafood buffet may be wonderful, or it may be a table laden with poorly prepared frozen fish. Some resorts offer table service at meals; others limit you to buffet service. Your "free" wine may be pleasant but it could also be unpalatable.
The best way to check a resort out thoroughly is to rely on the recommendation of recent guests (some of these resorts change hands frequently) or a travel agent who books enough all-inclusive properties to receive reliable and sizeable feedback. Use your instinct here, and be on the lookout for an agent that might be trying to sell you something without revealing the whole truth.
If you are undecided between an all-inclusive and an accommodations-only hotel, think through all information given the travel agent. Keep in mind that agents' commissions are higher on all-inclusives, because the prices are higher than most room-only bookings. An ethical agent won't let this affect the information given to a client. Unless you know your agent well, make sure that your agent gives every sign of giving impartial information designed to engender repeat business.
All-inclusives are often packages with airfare. If the airfare aspect is via scheduled charter service, make yourself aware of the differences between scheduled charters and scheduled air flights. For example, charters don't book you on another airline if your flight is delayed or canceled nor are they obligated to give you a refund unless your flight is delayed by at least 48 hours. Many (not all) charter flights also offer narrower seats. Ask about seat width and seat pitch before you book.
If you want a singles or couples-only resort or if you want a good place for the family, make sure the resort you're considering does more than allow both these various travel demographics but has the facilities and programs to accommodate them and offer some separation. Don't go by pictures in the brochure. Ask specific questions.
Travelers who care about the impact of tourism on local economies might want to opt for lodging-only resorts, sharing their money with local restaurants, nightspots and watersports vendors, rather than channeling it all into a resort. It's not quite the same to support relatively low-paid resort workers and to contribute to local businesses where most of the money stays in the community.
Finally, read the "hurricane guarantee" provisions very carefully if you are planning a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season. Some of the best resorts have terms that, for example, give you nothing unless the winds during the hurricane reach a certain velocity at the resort. Even if the ocean is churned to a point that makes diving impossible and the beach is too strewn with debris for pleasurable use, your compensation could be nil.
Used with research, an all-inclusive booking can be a delight to many travelers. Booked too hastily, and with too little advance information, your all-inclusive could include a significant number of headaches.
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