More travel madness...Eiffel Tower top landmark in the world (no top-10 for UK)..
In a shocking development, there's more confusion in the world's airports today over U.S. travel regulations.While Canadians woke up to find that Transport Canada has banned many carry-on items on flights from Canada to the U.S. because of the attempted Christmas Day bombing over Detroit, folks down in Australia seem to think regulations are being eased.
The Age is reporting that Australian airline officials understand there's no longer a requirement that passengers avoid the loo in the final 60 minutes of a flight to the U.S.
"Overnight, the US government has re-issued its regulations of what is required of all passengers and they have lifted the ban that prevented moving around the cabin one hour before arrival," a Qantas spokeswoman told the paper.
She said the information had come from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a division of the US Department of Homeland Security. But The Age said it was unable to confirm such a ruling.
Which makes sense given that so many experts are saying that the U.S. is deliberately muddying the waters.
Joseph Schwieterman, a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, told Associated Press that TSA's approach "keeps them (would-be terrorists) guessing."
Schwieterman said not spelling out exact procedures gives airport official more flexibility to focus on perceived threats or sensitive areas; likely big cities like New York and Los Angeles.
"There was criticisim after 9-11 that rules could be way too cookbook; not allowing authorities to adapt them to different settings, to different airports," he said.
Meanwhile, Canadians appear to be adapting to the new realities.
WestJet's Palmer said folks are bringing fewer carry-on bags to Canadian airports, a comment that Air Canada's Peter Fitzpatrick echoed.
"There are still delays but it's getting better," Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick wrote in an email to me this morning. "People are bringing less carry-on. Also, the government has provided more resources to beef up their security screening."
Palmer said WestJet is sticking with its suggestion that folks arrive three hours early for flights to the U.S.
"Oh, yeah, that should be fine," he said when asked if it's enough time. "You're not allowed to clear U.S. customs until 2-1/2 hours before your flight."
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority website, gtaa.com, is showing some delays for flights to Chicago and New York and a couple cancellations. But most flights appear to be operating on a normal or relatively normal schedule.
EIFFEL TOWER LEADS THE WAY
That's gotta hurt.
I spotted a survey of 1,000 folks around the world by hotels.com, asking people to name their favourite landmarks around the globe.
No surprise that the Eiffel Tower would come first. It's a wonderful structure, and I always find it amusing that the French HATED it when it was first unveiled.
(Of course, many of us said the same thing about the military statue on University Avenue that was once nicknamed "Gumby Goes to Heaven," and look what it did for Toronto tourism.)
Anywho, the hotels.com survey found the following 10 items as the top landmarks in the world:
1. Eiffel Tower (hard to imagine Paris without it)
2. St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (I'd probably have it down a few spots)
4. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco (I'm biased as I grew up there, but it's still awesome)
6. Statue of Liberty, New York (always an awesome sight)
7. Sydney Opera House (terrific spot that matches function with great form)
8. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (Not my favourite Gaudi architecture, to be honest)
9. The Acropolis (should be top five)
10. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro (again, never been but it certainly LOOKS impressive).
So there you have it. Nothing from the UK or Great Britain or England made it. Not Big Ben. Not the Houses of Parliament. Not the London Eye. Not Trafalgar Square. Zippo. Nada.
That's not gonna make folks happy across the pond, and one can imagine the Queen won't be putting hotels.com on the top of her favourite website list anytime soon. (Makes me think, what ARE on her favourites, anyway? What's her home page? Oprah? Chelsea? Manchester United? RyanAir? Ashley Madison? Desperate Housewives? Honestly, I'd love to know.)
I spotted a story on the BBC web site that points out Big Ben came in 11th and The London Eye was 12th. Of course, they had to put out a list showing the top 12, not the top 10.
Big Ben deserves the top 12. I like the London Eye just fine, but I can't see how it would beat out the Colosseum, the Pyramids or Machu Picchu. Let alone Easter Island, Edinburgh Castle, and the Great Wall of China. Come to think of it, we're also missing Mick Jagger's lips, Penelope Cruz's backside and Michael Ignatieff's ego...