Here Come the Chinese Tourists...Tiger Woods Airline Ad...Air Canada Comments
"Now the gloves are off, if you will, and we'll be able to aggressively get in there and really work to harvest and create awareness for Canada and for Toronto, Whitaker said. "We have guarded optimism. I don't think we'll get a flood of visitors overnight but we can build it up. This will require cooperation with tourism operators in China. There will be operations designated to sell in Canada and we'll designate operators to receive visitors here."
"We tend to sell Canada first, but we're the business capital, the cultural capital, the diversity capital of Canada," he said. "Most visitors from major urban centres like to visit other urban centres so they can shop, dine out and take in cultural events. Chinese visitors will be able to come to Toronto and go see Niagara Falls just like folks from Japan, Korea, India, Germany and France."
"We couldn't advertise in China until now," he said. "I don't think we'll immediately start running TV spots but we can do promos and put out brochures and do TV at some point."
Hoo, boy. I guess sooner or later someone was going to try to capitalize on the Tiger Woods' domestic dispute and his Cadillac incident.
Turns out it's Spirit Airlines, which has something of a habit of being irreverent. Their ad, which I spotted in the Orlando Sentinel, shows a cartoon tiger piloting his SUV into a fire hydrant as part of a special $9 fare promotion. It's called the "Eye of the Tiger" sale, and I guess his agents won't be hitting up Spirit for any kind of endorsement deal any time soon.
(As an aside, I was fascinated to see how hard fellow golfer Jesper Parnevik came down on Tiger for his marital woes. Parnevik is the guy who introduced Tiger to his former nanny, Elin Nordegren, who married Woods a few years back. He's now saying he regrets the move and that Tiger shouldn't have taken so litterally the "just do it" line from Nike, one of his sponsors. A great quote from Parnevik, but I wonder how it will affect Woods. Tiger has a penchant for remembering every slight, and the list of people who've taken potshots at him over his domestic incident will be a long one.)
I just noticed on Twitter (thanks Roland Hedley) that an airline official at Dulles airport in Washington D.C. estimated that more than 200 people missed their flights today because they were watching Tiger/mistress updates on the television. Isn't that hilarious?
AIR CANADA BAG FEES
Nice to see comments on this blog from folks about the new fees Air Canada is introducing. For those who missed it, AC on Wednesday said it will start forcing passengers with economy tickets (Tango, Tango Plus and Latitude) to the U.S. (excluding Puerto Rico) to pay $30 for a second checked bag. Passengers heading to Europe and Israel will have to fork over $50 for a second checked bag. The policy is for tickets bought from December 2nd onward and for flights starting Jan. 19 of next year.
Interesting that a couple folks have defended the airline. Here are some of the comments I've received:
Jim Gordon: Speaking as a Canadian living in the US I think it is important to note that all US carriers, with the exception of Southwestern already charge $30 for the first checked bag and significantly more if you check two. This applies to all flights in the US or from the US to Canada. Thus Air Canada is still giving their customers a break as they do not charge for the first checked bag.
Dear Mr. Gordon: That's one way of looking at it; but West Jet isn't charging for any bags - at least not yet.
From Whitfit: I may be in the minority here, but this is a good thing for efficiency and the environment. Bags use extra fuel, and cost money. I would rather ticket prices come down - for all the nickel and diming people complain about, airlines do operate on razor thin margins, and as the costs go down, the prices will too. So, now I'm motivated to pack more efficiently, and if I really need to take my whole wardrobe with me, I will pay a little extra. The environmental and cost benefits are worth it.
Dear Whitfit: Another point here; pack your heavy stuff like books or dress shoes in your carry-on to avoid overweight bag fees.
From Jennifer: I wouldn't mind so much if Air Canada didn't sorely lack in customer service and my bags would actually reach the proper destination. I for one have had my luggage lost and damaged four times in the past year and a half with Air Canada, three times to Europe and once domestically. Their dismal attempts to find my luggage and get it to me without the wheels and handles of my suitcase being ripped off have made me go to their competitors (even if it is more expensive) for any future flights. If I have to pay $30-50 for bags with Air Canada I would hope that it would at least arrive in one piece.
Dear Jennifer: I've only had one or two bag problems with Air Canada in, oh, 28 years of flying them on a regular basis. I don't like the bag fees, but I've never had a serious lost bag problem.
Gotta admit I smiled at a note from a reader/user with the tag of "odd comment," who took me to task for chiding Air Canada's bag fees while at the same linking to an Air Canada seat sale as one of my deals of the day. I guess it's fair comment, but just because I don't like something Air Canada is doing doesn't mean I shouldn't point out a seat sale to our readers.