Air Canada doesn't impress Frommer...Florida "Live" site to combat oil fears...
Good blog today - excellent actually - by newly minted Star columnist Pauline Frommer.
Writing at Pauline Frommer's Daily Briefing, Frommer today checked out the latest "deals" on Air Canada and found our favourite airline rather wanting in the bargain department.
Here's a sample of what she had to say:
Usually when a carrier begins a new route, its a good thing for passengers. The newcomer to that corner of the market undercuts the competition to establish itself, every one's prices drop and bingo! Consumers get a deal. Increased competition leads to lower prices.
Well, it seems that Air Canada doesn't use that playbook. Sure, its website pays lip-service to the idea that travelers will snag a steal if they book these new European non-stops before the deadline (May 18 in this case). The fares listed certainly look tempting--$403 each way Toronto to Copenhagen! $415 to Brussels! $425 to Rome. But once you get all the way to the end of the booking process, what with fuel surcharges, fees and taxes, rates across the pond are a good $350 higher than expected. And if you go to a general search engine or the website of one of Air Canada's competitors on these routes--as you should--you find that the other carriers are slaughtering Air Canada on price, often to the tune of $200 to $300 less. Air Canada's vaunted non-stops didn't come up in the affordable end of any of the searches I did, either.
It's a common complaint.
Just for fun, I went to expedia.ca this morning and checked on a flight from Toronto to Rome. It ended up being around $1,100 return on Air Canada, which isn't horrible but it's not exactly cheap, either.
In fairness, however, it was virtually the same price on the other airlines I checked. So Air Canada isn't always a bad deal.
I'm a frequent flyer on Air Canada and it's worth a little extra money to me to be able to gather points. A trip to Europe and back is maybe 10,000 miles, and that's about two-fifths of the 25,000 points you need for a flight in North America using Aeroplan points. Those flights, at least to the west coast of the U.S., where I like to go, tend to cost $500 or so. Using my very limited math skills, that means those 10,000 miles I get are worth about $200 - two/fifths of $500 if you get where I'm going with this. That being the case, it's worth it to me to fly Air Canada and pay $200 extra on a trip to Europe. At worst, I break even. But I like Air Canada more than, say, United or American Airlines for sure. And I REALLY like flying non-stop.
There is almost nothing good that can come out of a stopover at another airport. So for sure I always aim for the non-stop flights. All that having been said, Frommer is right to point out that some of Air Canada's deals aren't nearly as attractive as they might first appear. So thanks for a great blog, Pauline.FLORIDA FIGHTS OIL FEARS
Florida tourism folks have been quick, and understandably so, to tell folks not to worry about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They sent out a note today to announce a new site for folks to help keep track of things in the Sunshine State, and good for them for being proactive.
"Florida is alive and well, and open for business," they said. "VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing organization, is inviting potential visitors to see for themselves at Florida Live, where they can make their vacation plans based on real time information from local beaches and Florida residents - not based on misconceptions resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Florida’s clear beaches, blue waters, sunny skies and classic getaways haven’t changed.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, and a real person‘s view is worth a thousand paid photographers,” says Will Seccombe, chief marketing officer at VISIT FLORIDA. “That’s why we’ve taken the step of hosting consumer generated content on our tourism site. People want to see what’s really happening, not just what the ‘marketing guy’ is posting.”
NO, WAIT - LET ME TRY IT ONCE!
Spotted a report at travelweekly.com today saying that the Hedonism III resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, will drop its erotic theme, as parent company SuperClubs will rebrand the property.
Hedonism III will close Aug. 22 and reopen Oct. 14 as Super Fun Resort & Spa," according to travelweekly. The rebranded 225-room property will be "targeted at the wallet-conscious adult traveler looking for an all-inclusive vacation, minus some of the amenities that are included in our higher-priced, super-inclusive Breezes and Hedonism II plans," said Paul Pennicook, president of International Lifestyles, SuperClubs’ worldwide representative.
Airport transfers, motorized water sports and
premium-brand liquors won’t be included in Super Fun’s rates. Local
wines and liquors will continue to be included, as will all meals,
accommodations, and entertainment.
The resort will offer a small clothing-optional beach but no nude pool. Hedonism is known for its wild theme parties, a nude water slide that snakes through the disco and its nude beach and nude pool.
"The specific niche market which Hedonism Resorts traditionally has attracted will continue to be served by the 280-room Hedonism II resort," Pennicook said.
Thank God for that. Still, I'm not sure how I can get a "Hedonism II" receipt past the boss on my next expense report......MAN LOSES DOG ON DELTA FLIGHT
The poor guy, Josiah Allen, was in Puerto Vallarta with his girlfriend, Erin Docking, when they found what appeared to be a stray dog on the beach; a small, white animal that looks like a terrier. They ended up "adopting" Paco as their own and checked in with him on a flight home. When they got home, however, there was no Paco.
Reports say Delta at first said the dog remained in its cage at the airport in Mexico City. But they later admitted that Paco had disappeared — and offered a USD$200 travel voucher in compensation.
Allen and Docking have collected hundreds of signatures for an online petition entitled: “Tell Delta Airlines to PLEASE FIND Paco!” He's got something going on something called petitionsite, which I had never heard of.
“Lost baggage is one thing, but a live animal...,” Allen told the Consumerist website, where he first aired his complaints.
Other reports have suggested Paco busted out of his cage and eluded security staff at the airport. I don't like the poor mutt's chances. Then again, maybe this will be like "The Incredible Journey" and he'll make his way slowly home....
Kinda doubt it.BRITISH AIRWAYS STRIKE PROVISIONS
Things are heating up in Britain, with strikes slated to start next week against British Airways. But a report on travelmole.com today said British Airways has pledged to fly more than half of its Heathrow schedule during the first of four cabin crew strikes planned for next week.