Welcome to the July 2007 issue of "Smart Traveler". The newsletter with tips and information to help make your traveling smoother.
“In The Know” When The Wind Blows!
With the arrival of hurricane season
on June 1, some of our clients are expressing concern about cruising during
severe weather. We want to provide you with most current
information to help allay your concerns.
• Cruise Lines make the safety of its guests, crew and vessels their
• Unlike other vacation settings, by virtue of being a completely
mobile vacation, cruising allows passengers to continue their
vacations by altering itineraries should Mother Nature intervene.
• Modern cruise ships feature technologically-advanced weather
forecasting systems that enable them to reposition a ship well in
advance of significant weather-related disturbances.
• In the event that ports of embarkation and debarkation are closed
due to severe weather conditions, cruise lines can use a nearby
alternative port. In these cases, cruise lines coordinate the
logistics of loading food and supplies and getting passengers to and
from the original port.
• Be mindful that cruise lines can change an itinerary in order to
keep out of
harm’s way. Safety always remains the first priority. Travelers
should monitor cruise line Web sites and contact their travel agent
for modifications to itineraries prior to finalizing travel.
• The purchase of travel insurance, always an important element of
any vacation, assumes additional significance in instances of severe
Airlines experimenting with various ways of boarding families
Can airlines do a better job of accommodating families?
That's the question
Southwest Airlines is asking by experimenting with various ways to
board and seat traveling families.
"We began testing
about two weeks ago on all flights departing from San Antonio,"
Linda Rutherford, the airline's vice president of public relations,
said Thursday. "We are testing several different ways to conduct
considered include "having designated rows for family seating;
having them board with no onboard designated area, and pre-boarding
them as we would normally," Rutherford said. She said the
experiments would continue for a few weeks, and that it was too
early to draw conclusions.
spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said an airline
that wanted to seat families in a separate area would not need FAA
approval. "It is not a safety issue so the FAA would have nothing to
do with it," she said.
spokesman for the Air Transport Association, the trade organization
for U.S. airlines, said the ATA had no position on it.
A recent online
Maritz survey found 73 percent of respondents said they would like
to see family sections on airplanes.
experiment follows several high-profile incidents involving
passengers with children, including Kate Penland, who said she was
forced to disembark because her toddler was saying "Bye-bye plane!"
In another instance, the Transportation Security Administration took
the unusual step of posting a video on its Web site that appeared to
show a mother dumping the contents of her child's sippy cup on an
airport floor after security officials said she couldn't bring the
liquid with her. Earlier this year, a family was taken off an
AirTran flight when their child threw a tantrum and refused to wear
a seatbelt. Last year, protests were held nationwide in support of a
nursing mother who was ordered off a plane because she refused to
Many passengers are
surprisingly passionate about issues associated with children on
airplanes. Some complain about unruly children and crying babies;
others say passengers and even flight attendants are sometimes
needlessly hostile to families traveling under difficult
ways to keep cool while flying
1. Take a jacket or sweater. I know this sounds
bizarre, but after sweating in the airport, in the Jetway and then
on the plane before takeoff, you will freeze once you get airborne.
That's when they blast the air conditioning. Moments later, your
perspiration will turn to icicles.
2. Be the early bird. If you get to the airport early, you'll have
fewer worries, will hurry less and not sweat as much. Have you ever
seen a fellow passenger so stressed out that he was practically
raining perspiration? It's kind of amusing until you realize that
he'll be sitting next to you.
3. Tell a flight attendant. If you are on the airplane and you're
hot (or cold, for that matter), let a flight attendant know. Don't
assume they already know. They move around the airplane so much that
they generate their own heat, or they might be keeping cool by
standing next to the air vents.
4. Take a shower. Many airports now have shower facilities. It's a
great way to refresh and revitalize between trips. Not long ago, a
client was passing through London on the way home from Barcelona. He
paid 15 pounds ($23) for a shower and felt like a million bucks
afterwards. They even ironed his clothes. Ask at an information desk
if your airport has amenities.
5. Crash the gate. If you are at a gate where the air conditioning
system is broken and you have plenty of time before your next
flight, move to a cooler area. Many people think they have to stay
by their gate, but you don't. Relief could be at the next gate over.
6. Dress in layers. When you get too hot, you can peel off some
layers; when you're too cool, you can put them back on.
7. Board last. The number-one hot spot is the Jetway. There's no air
conditioning, and most of the time you're stuck in a long line that
barely moves. If you don't need to board early to grab an overhead
bin, stay in the cool gate area and wait until the gate agent
announces the final boarding call.
8. Leave more than enough time between flights. Don't be the person
running through the airport on a tight connection. Your seat partner
will thank you, and your chances of getting a chill from the sudden
temperature change are decreased tremendously.
9. Don't stand for it. Complain. And don't take "We are aware of the
problem" for an answer. Now that airlines are cutting costs, they
are less willing to provide supplemental air. If you threaten to
walk off a flight or demand medical assistance, they will quickly
pay attention to your needs.
10. Practice good hygiene. Don't be one of the smelly ones. Bring
along adequate deodorant and use it.
Hope this helps. Don't sweat it, and have a nice
summer. Keep cool!
Why Use, And How To Find A
After spending the last ten years on what seemed like the brink
of extinction, the travel service industry is making a rousing
comeback. As travel becomes more and more difficult, unpredictable,
and arduous, travelers who moved away from travel agents in favor of
self-service internet booking are rediscovering the true value of a
good travel agent, and returning in droves
Benefits of using a travel agent
- Help when things go wrong. Many internet customers complain
that when problems arise - even common situations like missed
flights or lost hotel reservations - there is no one to help. A
good travel agent is available 24/7, and has the expertise (and
often the connections) to quickly take care of problems as they
arise, removing the burden from the traveler.
- Time savings. The sheer number of on-line booking companies
means that it may take hours to find the best deals on your own.
One quick call to your travel agent and the work is done for you.
- Information. Travelers often find that accommodations,
restaurants or day tours that look fantastic on-line are a
disappointment once they arrive. Your travel agent will be able to
give you recommendations (often from personal experience) that fit
your needs and preferences.
- Knowledge and experience. The more complicated your travel
plans, the less likely you will be successful on your own. For
example, travel agents can find that flight from Beijing to Ulan
Bator, brief you on social customs, currency and water quality,
and let you know what the airline luggage weight restrictions are
on each leg of your journey.
Finding a good travel service professional
- Ask your traveling friends for recommendations, and ask
agencies for a list of current clients that you can contact.
- Check to see how long the agency has been in business. It
takes years for an agent to learn the travel, and it takes years
for an agency to establish solid relations with the best travel
suppliers. These wholesalers that are financially sound and will
guarantee their product.
- Is it a store front agency? You want a Travel Agency that has
invested in a location that is open to the public, so that you can
walk in and talk your agent about your vacation and be assured
that the agent is not working from their bedroom at home with an
- During the initial meeting, a good agent will ask a lot of
questions, covering things such as dietary restrictions, whether
aisle or window seats are preferred, if you have a favorite
airline or frequent flier membership, whether you prefer a resort
or a downtown hotel, and much more. This information is essential
in planning travel that meets your interests, needs and budget,
and if the agent does not ask questions, chances are you won't
receive the level of service that you should expect.
While travel agency services for (airlines) are no longer free to the public
(fees typically range anywhere from $10.00 to $100.00 depending on
the complexity of the arrangements), most clients will tell you that
good travel agents are worth their weight in gold.
Remember: Without a travel agent you're on
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