Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hawaiian Airlines and Air China sign codeshare agreement

Hawaiian Airlines has signed a codeshare agreement with Air China, China's exclusive national flag carrier.

Victoria Clipper photo contest a two-edged sword

Clipper Vacations, an affiliate of the Seattle-based Victoria Clipper, has kicked off a photo contest offering five round trips for two on the Victoria Clipper as the prizes, but the company itself could prove to be the biggest winner.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Interruptions to Newark Airport AirTrain service

The AirTrain at Newark's Liberty International Airport (EWR) is currently operating on a limited schedule and will be shut down completely for three months beginning May 1 for some much-needed repairs.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Alaska State Ferries: Deal or No Deal?

Ever since I moved to Seattle in 1983, people have been telling me that the Alaska state ferries are an economical way to see Alaska from the water. I recently decided to investigate and see exactly how economical they are.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rabbi loses Supreme Court bid to have frequent flier status reinstated

While I’m amazed that someone would take such a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that the court would agree to hear it, the case of Northwest (Airlines) vs. Ginsburg has some important lessons for frequent travelers who have achieved, and want to keep, their higher-tier frequent flier or frequent guest level.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Delta Airlines turns 'can’t' into 'can-do'

In a stunning display of out-side-the-box thinking, Delta Airlines found a way to keep an overseas flight from being cancelled, saving an entire planeload of passengers a full day's delay.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

ANA launches program to promote in-country travel by non-residents

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has introduced a program to encourage non-residents to see parts of the country beyond Tokyo and other major cities, and to experience cultural aspects that are uniquely Japanese.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Air France launches new ad campaign and signature

Air France on April 2 unveiled its new advertising campaign as well as a new signature to replace the tag line in use for the past 15 years.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ANA commences service to Vancouver, Hanoi

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) began non-stop service connecting Vancouver, B.C. (YVR) and Vietnam's Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) to Tokyo on Sunday, March 30.

Voting closed for Freddie Awards

Voted ended March 31 for the 2014 Freddie Awards, through which travelers vote for their favorite airlines and hotels.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Air France upgrades long-haul Business Class seating

Beginning this June, Air France passengers will be able to enjoy new business class seats in the airline’s long-haul Boeing 777s.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cruising for a bargain? Consider a repositioning cruise!

If you’ve never cruised before or would like to cruise more economically than sailing during prime time, a repositioning cruise may be something to consider.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Air France to begin A380 service between Paris and Hong Kong

Air France will soon become the first airline to connect France and Hong Kong with the Airbus A380, the largest commercial jetliner flying today.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gogo to raise prices of monthly passes; offers Smartphone day pass

In-flight Internet provider Gogo will raise the prices of its Traveler Pass and Unlimited Pass by $10 per month effective April 7, TheTravelPro has confirmed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Four airlines retain SKYTRAX's highest 5-Star rating for 2014

Four airlines have retained their 5-Star rating from airline and airport review specialists SKYTRAX, while three airlines given the award in 2013 have not had the honor bestowed anew.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Airlines allow expanded use of electronic devices in flight

It’s a change so subtle that it may have escaped the notice of many air travelers. U.S. airlines are now allowing so-called “personal electronic devices,” or PEDs, to remain powered up for the entire flight.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Southwest Airlines shows superior service

I must give Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) kudos for its recent display of excellent customer service.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

AAdvantage® members could win miles

American Airlines is showcasing the "enhanced entertainment, comfort and connectivity" of its new planes as part of a contest in which members of its AAdvantage® frequent flier program could with 250,000 miles.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Staying connected while in flight

Every day, more aircraft are being outfitted with systems that allow in-flight connectivity, but aIl such services are not created equal. As I experience the different services, I will compare and contrast, and share what I find.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ANA to begin service to Vancouver, BC in March '14

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) will begin non-stop service from, Vancouver, B.C. (YVR) to Tokyo's Haneda Airport (HND) beginning March 30, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Smooth jazz fans consider cruise to Alaska

A cruise to Alaska is on my wife’s and my bucket list. Because we live in Seattle and are both fans of the smooth jazz genre, an ad for the September sailing of the Dave Koz & Friends at Sea jazz cruise from nearby Vancouver, B.C. to Alaska caught our attention.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ANA introduces WiFi service on international routes

Starting March 1, Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) began offering passengers aboard select international flights the option of purchasing Internet access via the new ANA Wi-Fi Service.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Delta Airlines makes major change to Sky Miles program

In a move designed to lure more business travelers, Delta Airlines (NYSE:DAL) has announced a major change to its Sky Miles frequent flier program.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Honolulu prepares for SPAM JAM

I love crazy, quirky destinations and attractions. In fact, I created and hosted a radio feature called “The Offbeat Destination of the Week,” so I was very pleased to learn that one of Hawaii’s wackiest festivals will take place on Oahu on Saturday, May 3: the 12th Annual Waikiki SPAM JAM®!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

UAL: ‘No refunds’ for United Club members who will lose access

United Airlines does not plan to offer compensation or other consideration to members of its United Clubs for the rapidly approaching loss of approximately 35% of the club locations in the United States to which they have access today.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CHICAGO: Hyatt Regency O'Hare

The Hyatt Regency O’Hare is a beautiful hotel near O’Hare Airport just west of Chicago, with easy access to the airport and two major freeways. There is a lot to recommend about it, as well as one drawback worth considering.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rental cars and paying tolls electronically

Approximately two years ago, I wrote a blog post, Rental Cars and the True Cost of Tolls, which dealt with the option of renting an electronic pass to pay road and bridge tolls in certain areas. That can be pretty handy in certain parts of the country but it can also prove to be surprisingly expensive on a per-use basis.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

United Airlines offers two ways to stay on-line in flight

While I often seize the opportunity of air travel to enjoy a few hours of being serenely disconnected from all that’s happening on the ground, there are times when one simply must stay in touch. My recent flight from Seattle (SEA) to Chicago's O'Hare (ORD) to attend a funeral was one such occasion, so I was pleased to learn that United Airlines began installing United Wi-Fi on select airplanes in 2013.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Counting the cancellations

An article in the New York Times' travel section breathlessly reported that many flights cancelled because of the recent spate of bad weather in the Northeast "won't be counted as late or cancelled in the government's on-time statistics."

My response: "So what?"

Monday, February 3, 2014

SAN ANTONIO: Hilton Palacio del Rio

The Hilton Palacio del Rio is conveniently located on San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk, adjacent to the Henry M. Gonzales Convention Center and two blocks from the historic Alamo. It’s a beautiful property with service that, despite a couple of slips, generally met Hilton’s -- and my -- high service standards.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

US Airways benefits now available to American Airlines AAdvantage members

While the merger of American Airlines and US Airways will not end the reciprocity between United Airlines and US Airways until March 30, members of American Airlines’ AAdvantage® program received an e-mail Jan. 8, advising that they can start taking advantage of certain aspects of the relationship with US Airways effective immediately.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Getting the most out of social media

Social media -- including sites like Twitter, Yelp!, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, and even blogs like this one -- are great ways to get lots of information about things to do, places to see, restaurants to eat, hotels to stay.

But sorting out the valuable information from the not-so-valuable takes work.

To that end, I've put together a booklet, "Getting the Most out of Social Media." Click here to download the booklet, feel free to share it, and please enjoy it.

Happy 2014!

Visit my main page at for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of travel.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Size DOES matter

As I anticipate the end of the final leg of my current business trip, I am reminded of a fact I have either chosen to ignore or have accepted as one of those aspects of travel over which I have no control: on-board legroom. It DOES vary fairly widely from airline to airline.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Making the Most of München, Part Three

Munich, the capital of the German state of Bavaria, is a city that retains much of its old world charm while embracing modernity in many ways, particularly when it comes to getting around.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Making the Most of München, Part Two

München, the capital of the German state of Bavaria, is an interesting mix of modern elements and old world charm. This is the second post in a series on Making the Most of München.

Making the Most of München, Part One

The capital of the German state of Bavaria, Munich (or München in German) is a modern city that retains much of its old world charm.

Friday, December 20, 2013

MUNICH: The Hotel München Palace

Over the years, I have enjoyed stays in many hotels that had beautiful facilities and provided excellent service. It is, however, extremely rare when I can describe a stay as "flawless" and say that I never wanted to leave. The Hotel München Palace delivered just such an experience.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

FRANKFURT: Hilton Frankfurt Airport

When I travel outside the U.S., I tend to gravitate to local hotels that embody the local character instead of staying in large multi-national chains, which can be somewhat predictable. However, on the recommendation of a business contact who had lived in Frankfurt, I decided to stay at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport and found it a delightful place to call home during my brief visit.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lufthansa Business Class – NOT to be missed!

As I sat in the lounge at Sea-Tac airport (SEA) waiting to board Lufthansa Flight 491 to Frankfurt (FRA), a phrase from a ‘70s song came to mind “I’m sitting in the airport bar, trying to look like a superstar, waiting for the plane to take me far away…"

Taking the train in Germany

Train travel in Europe is a pleasant, convenient, and often economical option for inter-city travel, but there are some things you should know to make your travels more comfortable and ensure there are fewer surprises.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exchanging foreign currency economically

If you travel internationally, even if that is just between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, you’ll likely be exchanging currencies at some time. How to do it most economically?

MUNICH: Hotel Schlicker zum Goldenen Löwen

If you’re seeking genuine Bavarian accommodations when visiting München (Munich), you need look no farther than the Hotel Schlicker.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Beware of scams while traveling

Virtually no matter where you’re traveling, you may be approached by someone asking for your help, which usually means they want money. Too often, the request for help is a scam, though some are obvious and others more subtle. Be on your guard.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmastime window display in München

This is a store display in a shop window at the Galeria Kaufhof in Munchen for Christkindlmarkt. No one does Christmas quite like the Germans!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Two days in Frankfurt

My first two days in Frankfurt, a city I had never before visited, were spent largely getting the lay of the land, an effort that included intended destinations never found, and many wrong turns along the way.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Viking Cruises adds European land excursions

Viking Cruises has added six Explore More™ land extensions in some of Europe's most iconic cities for its 2014 itinerary, giving Viking guests the opportunity to extend their stay and enhance their time abroad.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When things go wrong: taking care of the business traveler

In the hospitality industry it is a common, if not standard, practice to offer some sort of compensation when things go amiss: either a round of drinks or a complimentary dessert when something is wrong with a meal, or discount when the bad experience involves a hotel room or hotel stay. Such gestures are fine when the aggrieved party is paying their own way, but it becomes a different matter when the person who is inconvenienced is a business traveler.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

United Club members affected by American/US Air merger

The merger of American Airlines and US Airways will not only combine the two carriers’ in-flight operations; it will also change the dynamics of the airlines' clubs and include a dramatic reduction in the number of locations available to members of the United Clubs.

Monday, December 9, 2013

US Airways/United Airlines reciprocity to end March 30, 2014

As I predicted in a previous post, reciprocity between US Airways and United Airlines will become a thing of the past due to the merger of American Airlines and US Airways that was consummated Dec. 9.

American/US Airways merger closes

While far from complete, American Airlines and US Airways officials closed their merger on Dec. 9, a move announced to members of American’s AAdvantage program in an e-mail sent just before 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.