WestJet carry-on bag change ... Ikea hotels on the way ... Deal of Day: Scotland
WestJet announced today that guests can now carry just one carry-on bag onto their planes, instead of the previous limit of two.
Officials are talking about this change (effective April 4) making things smoother onboard, with more space and easier boarding. Of course, if you want to create lots of space let’s not allow any bags on board. Think of the time we’d all save that way.
This can’t possibly be couched as a victory for travelers, who now will be forced to check more bags or cut down on luggage.
The new limit means one bag on board (of a certain size, of course), plus one so-called “personal item.” Which is the same as Air Canada now allows.
The WestJet press release on the issue described a personal item as including “small purses, laptop bags or mobility or child restraint devices.”
Me? I think what we need is an airline restraint device.IKEA HOTELS COMING TO EUROPE
I touched on this some time ago, but now there's official word that Ikea has teamed with Marriott to open a series of budget-minded hotels across Europe.
According to travelmole.com, Ikea's parent company "has confirmed it is to open around 50 budget hotels in Europe in the next five years in partnership with Marriott International, with the first opening in Milan (see photo)."
The hotels will be branded Moxy and are aimed at youth travelers on a budget. Rooms look to be going for around $100 a night, which isn't bad for Europe but is a significant step above a hostel rate.
Marriott apparently has spent $500 million or so on the project and has plans to build 50 hotels in the next five years and 150 over 10 years. Travelmole said it's "looking for sites close to business parks, airports, train and underground stations in the UK, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria."
The hotels will have "upscale bathrooms and guestrooms will be kitted out with modern technology including flat screen TVs and built-in USB ports, and there will be meeting rooms and snack bars."
The rooms apparently won't feature Ikea furniture but will be built mostly off-site and then transported to various cities for final assembly, no doubt by engineers with really big Allen keys and a set of baffling instructions.
HOTEL PRICES ON THE RISE, AND SO ARE REWARD PROGRAM COSTS
Feeling the pinch in North America? There's good reason for that. A new study by hotels.com finds that hotel prices in North America rose 5 per cent last year; considerably higher than the worldwide average ike of 3 per cent.
Here in Toronto, prices rose only 2 per cent. In Montreal, they were up 3 per cent. But rooms can get expensive in some parts of the country, with average prices in Kananaskis, Alberta last year pegged at $259 and in Lake Louise at $246.
Looking for a sun holiday? Prices in the Caribbean were up 6 per cent last year, the study said. Asia prices rose just two per cent, while prices in Latin America crept up by just 1 per cent. Prices in the Middle East and Europe dropped slightly, which is good news for many travellers.
In addition to paying more for North American hotels, consumers here face some bad news on the rewards program front. CNN reports that Marriott, Hilton and Starwood, which operate Westin and Sheraton hotels and many others, are all increasing the number of points needed to get free nights at their properties.
Hilton, CNN said, will nearly double the points needed to stay at its most popular locations in peak times. Marriott, it said, will hike the number of points needed to stay at more than 1,000 of its hotels around the world after May 15. And Starwood plans to hike the "combined points and cash needed to stay at the majority of its hotels by 25 per cent."
Bad news, folks. Bad news.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY: SCOTLAND
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal on hand for a fabulous trip to Scotland, priced at $3,465, including $567 in taxes.
- BONUS: Extend your flights for up to 30 days at no additional cost, and return from anywhere Transat flies in Europe
- BONUS: $150 Future Travel Voucher
- 10-day/8-night Scottish Dream Tour & Military Tattoo featuring a Loch Ness cruise, visits to Edinburgh Castle, reserved seating for the Military Tattoo and more!
- Includes return airfare from Toronto to Glasgow on Air Transat
- Includes all transfers in Scotland via luxury coach, services of a professional English speaking tour guide, and all sightseeing and entrance fees as per itinerary
- 8 nights' accommodation in Superior First Class hotels (based on double occupancy)
- Includes full breakfast daily (except day one), and 6 dinners throughout the tou
- The incredible amount of inclusions in the trip, from accommodations in Superior First Class Hotels, Military Tattoo, meal inclusions, to cruises, tours and more
- Visits and admissions to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Inveraray Castle, Clan Donald Centre at Armadale Castle, Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, Balmoral Castle or Crathes Castle, Glamis Castle, St Andrews and Edinburgh Castle
- Cruise on the legendary Loch Ness, and Loch Lomond
- Valid for travel on August 13, 2013
- Pricing (Rates are per person, and based on double occupancy):
Single: $3448 + 567 tax
Double: $2898 + $567 tax
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is 100% non-refundable