Park'N Fly Food Drive...Worst Airports...Caribbean Warning...Jim's Deal/Day
Here's a nice idea. Park'N Fly here in Toronto is supporting the Daily Break Food Bank in an effort to help stampt out hunger and poverty and give families a happier holiday season.
Between Nov. 2 and Dec. 21, consumers can drop off a non-perishable food item at the Toronto Park'N Fly Valet Location and get one free parking day, with no strings or limitations or restriction. In addition, you can make a cash donation to the Food Bank in that period and get your free day by bringing the electronic donation receipt; just in case it's not handy to get the grocery store. Park'N Fly will match every dollar donated - up to $5,000 during this period.
I say GOOD ON PARK'N FLY for this promotion. And, hey, nice as the offer is, how about taking a big basket or bagful of groceries and not just a single item, folks?
CARIBBEAN UPS AND DOWNS
Interesting International Monetary Fund report the other day on Caribbean travel. The IMF says that as the financial crisis hit the U.S., countries most dependent on American tourism suffered the worst. Countries less dependent on U.S. visitors, including Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Cuba (duh), fared better.
From April to June, the IMF said visits to Mexico dropped 27.6 %, while those to St. Kitts and Nevis were down a surprising 25.5 % and visits to St. Vincent and the Grenadines dropped 24.1 %.
On the other hand, Barbados (see photo) was down 12. 5 % andSt. Lucia was down only 5.2 per cent. Jamaica was up 6.7 %, while Colombia grew by 13.2 % and Cuba by 3.8 %.
Don't forget it's Caribbean week here in Toronto, culminating with the Rum and Rhythm event at the Distillery District on Friday.
WORST AIRPORTS: LONDON CALLING
A survey by the Priority Pass airport lounge program finds that London Heathrow tops a list of the five worst airports in the world. Paris' Charles de Gaulle came in second, followed by LAX, Frankfurt International in Germany and Miami International.
Singapore Changi was voted the best airport by Priority Pass members, some 14,500 of whom were queried.
Singapore's airport is almost always singled out as world's best, with its massage chairs and movie theatres and rooftop gardens and dozens of other features that make our little Toronto Pearson look rather pathetic. But enough of that.
I don't know about Heathrow being worst. It's HUGELY busy, which can't be good for service. But I've been there twice in the last year, most recently a week ago in the new Terminal 5, and I thought it was pretty good. Haven't been to Paris in a while (note to self - remedy that) or LAX, although I'll be at LAX on Saturday for five hours so I can check it out. I recall my last visit to Frankfurt - on my way to Athens, I think - was dreadful. Miami's pretty poor but I believe it's being rebuilt/renovated.
JIM'S DEAL OF THE DAY
The buzz in cruising these days seems to be either ‘go big’ or ‘go small’. Mega-ships like Royal Caribbean’s 220,000-ton Oasis of the Seas will carry 5,400 passengers when it hits the water later this year. That dwarfs the small and cozy river cruise ships gaining popularity on
AIR WARS IN THE U.S.
I think I'd need a calculator or a really good abacus to figure it out, but the deals sound extraordinary on Southwest and on AirTran down in the U.S. of A. Southwest has launched a goofy (but seemingly popular) sale in which tickets range from $25 to $100, depending on how you go. A flight of up to 375 miles is $25 each way, while flights between 375 and 549 miles are $50 and flights between 550 and 999 miles are $75 each way. Flights of 1,000 miles or more cost, wait for it, $100 each way.
The sale ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m. PST. The sale covers flights between Dec. 2 and 16 and Jan. 5 to Feb. 10 - thus avoiding Christmas and New Year's. Interesting it ends two days prior to the start of the Vancouver Olympics, too.
AirTran has a sale of its own but you'll have to go to their website - www.airtrain.com - to check. Sample flights include Boston to Baltimore/Washington for $39. I was able to find a one-way flight from Buffalo-Niagara to Orlando in mid-November for $67 U.S., which is pretty dang good.
The AirTran sale isn't valid for tickets on Nov. 25, Nov. 28-30, Dec. 18-20, Dec. 22-30 or Jan. 2-3. It, too, ends Feb. 10, and USA Today reports fares are cheapest for flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
HONDURAS CHAIR LIFT: LOOKS GREAT BUT IS THE COUNTRY SAFE?
Carnival passengers will be able to "fly" from the ship to the beach on a new elevated chair lift, when the line debuts its new Mahogany Bay Cruise Center in Roatan, Honduras, next month, says USA Today.
The six-minute lift ride, which Carnival is calling the "Magical Flying Beach Chair," will start directly at the cruise terminal and take passengers to Mahogany Beach. According to Carnival it's the first such transport in the Caribbean.
Four-passenger chairs will travel 67 feet above the ground. Carnival will charge a $5 fee for unlimited rides (chair lift passes will also be included in pre-sold beach activities).
The lift is part of Carnival's new $62 million cruise center which debuts with a visit of the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend on Nov. 20. Mahogany Beach is a 10-acre private island featuring a long beach with loung chairs, floats, private cabanas, watersports, a restaurant and two bars.
It's something you don't see everyday, but the Tourism Minister of Honduras was quoted the other day as saying visitors should AVOID his country due to political instability.
"We are still a state without individual guarantees," he said. "The police can come into your house without court order, you can be arrested withour reason, and there's no freedom of movement."
Carnival argues Roatan is 30 miles from the coast and hasn't been affected by the political situation in Honduras and that "we have continued to call there through the past many weeks without incident."