Tuesday, October 13, 2015

'Plan a Cruise Month' specials abound

With October designated National Plan a Cruise month by the CLIA, the Cruise Line Industry Association, many cruise lines are offering specials to encourage would-be cruisers to take the plunge.

Patrons receive mixed messages about Miami Beach gratuity policy

Either out of ignorance or malice, workers at some restaurants in the area of Miami Beach, Fla., are misrepresenting a common area policy of automatically adding a gratuity, to the frustration of many restaurant customers and the consternation of industry and state officials.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Delta first U.S. airline to accept Apple Pay for tickets

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines has become the first U.S.-based airline to enable its customers to pay for flights using Apple Pay.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Worthwhile and worth(less) books on travel

Whether working for a major national publication or broadcast network or writing for one’s own blog, journalists receive an almost amazing number of book “pitches.” Some of the publications pitched are worth reading, a few are worth keeping, but many aren’t fit for fireplace fodder.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

American Cruise Lines names new ship for Pacific Northwest

American Cruise Lines has announced the new name for the ship that will move from its current route on the Mississippi River and join The Queen of the West on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in 2016.

OPINION: American Cruise Lines chooses wrong name for ship to cruise Pacific Northwest

Upon learning of American Cruise Lines’ decision to rename the Queen of the Mississippi the American Pride before moving it to the Pacific Northwest, I drafted the following email to Charles A. Robinson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of ACL. Because several emails were returned as undeliverable, I am publishing it here as an open letter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MIAMI BEACH: No tipping necessary (it's included!)

If you're traveling to Miami Beach, Florida, you may find it helpful to know that most of the bars and restaurants in the area add an automatic gratuity (tip) to their checks. The establishment's tip policy is usually noted somewhere on the menu and, if an automatic gratuity is included, it will be indicated on the bill by the word "gratuity," "service," "service charge" or something similar.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Delta expands overseas service for summer '16

As part of its ongoing aggressive expansion, Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) will add several new nonstop flights to Europe for the summer of 2016.

United's new CEO still doesn't get it

Since taking over Chicago-headquartered United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) on Sept. 8, the airline’s new CEO has been saying some of the right things but, as my late mother was fond of saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” So far, his actions haven’t measured up.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Do your travel homework, Part 2

Shortly after writing a post about doing one's homework before traveling, I stumbled upon yet another example of how a little bit of homework can pay huge dividends.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Getting around HND in style

Starting today, first class international passengers arriving on All Nippon Airways (ANA) flights from three major world gateways will be able to get around Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND) in style.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Making the most of Montréal

Montréal, Quebec is one of North America's most popular travel destinations. It is world-renowned for its European style, numerous festivals, world-class cuisine and its history, and is a delightful place to visit. Here are some recommendations intended to help you make the most of Montréal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Montréal: 'Beyond the Bagel' food tour

Montréal’s heritage includes a wide range of contributions brought to the area by Jewish people, primarily from Eastern Europe, who came to the city seeking asylum from war, conflicts and persecution. Visiting the areas many still call home can provide visitors to the city valuable insight into the people themselves, as well as to the food they brought to the New World.

Hapag-Lloyd cruise ships reconfirmed as world's most luxurious

Three of the four ships of the Hapag-Lloyd cruise line have been given 5-star-plus ratings by the 2016 edition of the Berlitz Cruise Guide, while the line’s fourth ship has received the distinction of a 4-star-plus rating.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Holland America unveils BLEND cruise experience

Holland America Lines has unveiled a new cruise feature it will begin offering when it launches its newest ship, the ms Koningsdam in April 2016.

Montréal for foodies

Montréal, Quebec is a very diverse city, a fact reflected in its ever-evolving food scene. From traditional Jewish foodstuffs including bagels and bialies sold in the city’s Outremont, Mile-End and Plateau areas to tapas restaurants in the Ville-Marie (Old Town) to a wide variety of Asian food in and around Chinatown to haute French cuisine to the occasional food truck, there is something for everybody.

Expanded hours for TSA Pre-Check applications

If you are among the millions of air travelers who have not yet applied for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Pre-Check to help speed your way through security, some changes are coming that will make doing so more convenient.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Düsseldorf's Christkindlmarkt to open Nov. 19

Düsseldorf, Germany’s annual Christmas Market is slated to open Nov. 19, connecting seven individual holiday-themed markets that will illuminate city’s historic Old Town with thousands of lights, delectable holiday delicacies, and Christmas merchandise.

Montréal: LHotel Montréal

Our stay at LHotel Montrėal in Montrėal’s Vieux Montrėal (Old Town) might be best described by a familiar line from Mary Poppins"Practically perfect in every way."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Alaska Airlines announces annual Permanent Fund Dividend sale

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines has announced its annual Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) sale, offering bargains from the 49th state to warmer destinations for travel between Oct. 13, 2014 through May 24, 2016.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Montŕeal: Hell hath no fury…

As the creator and one-time host of a radio travel feature called The Offbeat Destination of the Week, I had to visit the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery cemetery during a recent visit to Montŕeal, Quebec.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Take care when buying code-share

Code-sharing, which allows a passenger to purchase a ticket through one airline for a flight operated by another carrier, is a very common practice in the airline industry. There are benefits, but there is a potential pitfall that travelers should know about.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Etihad Airways enters partnership to market upscale accommodations on A380s

U.A.E.-based Etihad Airways has partnered with a leading global aircraft charter specialist to aid in the marketing of two distinctly upmarket accommodations available on its Airbus A380 fleet.

More upmarket hotels adding in-room tablets

Increasingly, upmarket hotels are providing their guests with in-room tablets for their use during their stay. Those tablets can range from the familiar iPad to proprietary hardware and software, all loaded with apps intended to enhance the guest’s experience and offer more options to interact with the specific property or the hotel chain.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Outrigger offers special deals on Fiji

If you’re looking for a shoulder-season getaway, the Outrigger Resort on Castaway Island, Fiji, may be just the ticket.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

United Airlines' new CEO speaks out ... but says nothing

As you likely know by now, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek resigned amid a brewing scandal in early September and the airline replaced him with United Board member Oscar Munoz. On Sept. 15, Munoz sent an email to United customers to introduce himself and to outline his plans for the airline, though the "plans" he articulated were long on generalities and extremely short on specifics.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Airline fares drop again in August CPI

Airline fares, which fell 5.6 percent in July, continued to fall in August according to the latest figures on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Report details sources of ancillary revenue

Airline revenue from sale of ancillary services and à la carte items up 21 percent from '14

A newly released report sheds some light on how much revenue 63 of the world's airlines derived in 2014 from the sale of so-called ancillary services.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Next-gen in-flight safety videos

Many airlines are trying to make the required in-flight safety announcements more interesting – and consistent – by producing and playing safety videos instead of making their flight attendants read the announcements at the beginning of each flight. While it is a great idea in theory and has resulted in some memorable videos, it has also resulted in presentations that fall completely flat.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

ANA and Boeing unveil first Star Wars jet

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) and aircraft manufacturer Boeing have unveiled the first of three airliners that will be painted in Star Wars livery.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Before you travel, do your homework

We all heard it growing up from our parents, teachers, and others: “It pays to do your homework.” Now, you’re hearing it from me: “It literally does pay to do your homework.”

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Update on British Airways 777 fire

Investigators looking into why a British Airways Boeing 777 suffered an engine fire on takeoff from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) on Sept. 8 are looking at the possibility of a ruptured fuel line and whether fire suppression equipment functioned properly.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

UPDATE: British Airways jet catches fire on take-off from Las Vegas


A British Airways Boeing 777 suffered an engine malfunction on takeoff from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) on Sept. 8. According to NBCNews.com, 20 people were treated and released from local hospitals for what a fire official called "minor injuries," most of which came as passengers slid down the inflatable evacuation chutes.

The Rugby World Cup: at what cost?

The first match of the Rugby World Cup is a little more than a week away and fans the world over are planning to converge on the United Kingdom to take in at least a few of the 48 matches. But for those avid (dare I say, “rabid”?) fans who intend to be there from start to finish, it will take a pretty penny, even for those on a budget.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

'Couples Season' begins at Four Seasons Resort Maui

Now that the kids are back in school, the fourth annual Couples Season begins this week and runs through November at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Holiday hiatus

TheTravelPro will not publish on Monday, Sept. 7, in observance of U.S. Labor Day.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Busy fall in the Big Easy

While there is hardly a dull moment in New Orleans, this fall is shaping up to be a busy time for the city known variously as the Crescent City, America’s Most Interesting City (according to welcome signs at the city limits) and, perhaps most famously, the Big Easy.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Coming soon to an airport near you: motorized luggage

Two Chicago-based entrepreneurs have launched what they are calling a revolutionary new concept in travel: a suitcase that will appeal to tech enthusiasts, savvy travelers and everyday individuals looking to get from Point A to Point B efficiently.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hack may save on airfare, but beware.

When I read the news release announcing that a company had “found an airfare hack that can save passengers 20% or more on flights (in our case 29%)”, I was dubious. As it turns out, my Spidey Sense was spot on and I had good reason to be wary.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bumped from a flight? Your compensation just got larger

The Department of Transportation has increased the amount of compensation fliers may be entitled to if they are denied boarding.

At what cost Business Class?

I love traveling Business Class. Who wouldn’t? More legroom, better food, better treatment. But those amenities come at an additional cost that varies widely from one airline to the next.

Monday, August 31, 2015

TUKWILA, Wa: Miyabi Sushi

One of my favorite lunches on rainy days is a Japanese bento box. The starter of hot miso soup is just the thing to chase the chills, and the tempura and succulent beef or chicken are excellent next courses. And in the Tukwila area near Southcenter in Seattle, there's no better place for a bento box than Miyabi!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Beijing airports to close Sept. 3

Both airports in Beijing, China will be closed for several hours on Sept. 3 while the city holds a parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and airlines are warning passengers traveling to or through Beijing to expect severe delays.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Emirates launches fare sale from US gateways

Dubai-based Emirates airline is offering bargain fares for flights from ten U.S. gateway cities for travel from Sept. 1 through April 30, 2016.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New tool gives Delta F/As ability to provide more personalized service

When I saw the headline on the Delta Air Lines news release that read in part, “Bringing humanity … back to the skies,” I was, to say the least, dubious. As I read on, I grew more encouraged about the positive benefits Delta’s newly deployed technology will eventually be able to provide.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Norwegian: A better bargain airline?

Always on the lookout for an airline I have not yet flown, I identified another during a recent trip that took me through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): Norwegian.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Carnival offers bargain rates on social media packages

Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a “social media Internet package” that offers guests the opportunity to post pictures of their cruise on several social media sites for a bargain rate.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

United restricts access to United Clubs

After facing a one-third reduction in the number of airport club locations available to members of United Airlines’ United Club, members are now facing additional restrictions on how they can use their club memberships.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rugby World Cup to provide billion-pound boost to U.K. tourism industry

The 2015 Rugby World Cup, which commences on Sept. 18, is expected to generate nearly £1bn for England’s transport and tourism industry.