A fine time in Philadelphia ... Air Canada bumping rules ... Deal of the day
Full confession: I haven’t been to Philadelphia in years.
But I recall there being quite a lot more to the city than we Canadians might sometimes think. I mean, we know about Rocky and the Phillies (remember 1993?) and the Flyers and probably some of us know about the Liberty Bell.
The Philadelphia tourism folks held a cocktail
reception in Yorkville Tuesday night and I had a chance to catch up with Donna Schorr, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. director of communications.
“We have an authentic history, not a re-created history like some places,” Schorr said. “You can walk down cobblestone streets where people walked 300 years ago.”
I remembered some great Italian places and record stores on funky South St. when I was there last. And I also loved the cheesesteak and hoagie food trucks and the small but extremely beautiful Rittenhouse Square, a lovely green space surrounded by towering, old buildings with style and flair. It was one of five original squares in the city laid out in the 17th century by William Penn, for whom Pennsylvania is named.
There’s also the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art from "Rocky" (see photo above) and a Rodin museum with more Rodin pieces than any museum outside London, plus the Barnes Foundation, one of the top art collections in the world, and nearly six centuries of architecture.
Toss in Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted, the Liberty Bell Center and great restaurants and bars and you’ve got a city that probably deserves more acclaim.
Oh, one more thing from Schorr.
“We have great hotels, and they’re a lot cheaper than New York or Boston.”
I went online today and found a room for June 8 at the downtown Sheraton for $155. Most of the better or name hotels, however, were $200 or more. Not cheap, but probably better than New York City.
BUMPING FEES TO GET BUMPED?
It’s nice to see someone looking after us regular folks.
In case you missed it in today’s Star, business reporter Vanessa Lu reports that the Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that Air Canada passengers who get bumped off a domestic flight because of overbooking should get more than the $100 cash or $200 travel voucher that AC currently gives out.
The agency said it’s reasonable for Air Canada to overbook (something WestJet says it simply doesn’t do, by the way) but that the compensation being offered is “unreasonable.”
Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs has suggested the numbers should be much higher. Lu reports that in the U.S., there’s no compensation if a passenger is rerouted within an hour of getting bumped. Between one and two hours, compensation is twice the airfare, up to a maximum of $650. If a delay is more than two hours, the compensation is four times the airfare, up to a maximum of $1,300.
Those are reasonable numbers. Let’s hope Canada somehow follows suit.
Air Canada has 30 days to respond to the CTA’s ruling, and AC spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says they’ll be consulting with the agency.
On an unrelated note, Air Canada has followed the lead of WestJet and asked Transport Canada to let it reduce the number of flight attendants on board its aircraft.
WestJet got a ruling a few weeks ago that allows it to staff airplanes at a ratio of one attendant for every 50 passengers, versus the former rule of one for every 40. The airline said that would bring WestJet into line with international carriers and allow it to be more competitive.
Now Air Canada is asking for the same treatment, and it’s hard to see how they could get turned down…
Airline officials, of course, say there will be no reduction in safety. But in an emergency, wouldn’t you rather have one attendant for every 40 passengers rather than 50?
BOOK YOUR BANFF TRIP ONLINE
Visitors to Canada’s iconic Banff National Park in Alberta are now able to pay park entry fees and purchase annual passes to the famed Rocky Mountain park and UNESCO World Heritage Site online via Banff Lake Louise Tourism's website.
Banff National Park welcomes more than 3 million visitors from near and far through its gates annually, with the majority of them purchasing a pass to the park upon arrival at the entrance gates.
Parks Canada, in collaboration with Banff Lake Louise Tourism, has introduced an online purchasing service, providing a convenient one-stop shopping experience for visitors.
“With so many wonderful activity and accommodation options available from our partners via banfflakelouise.com, the ability to purchase a park pass at the same time, from the same site, helps visitors by delivering a convenient and complete travel planning service,” said Julie Canning, President & CEO of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO BIKE ROUTE
Cool to see talk of a 600 km long bike route from Cobourg to Niagara, as detailed in today's Star. It would be quite the ride. Too bad it doesn't go through the city of Toronto but a greenbelt trip is better for recreation and for avoiding cars, for sure.
MORE WI-FI IN THE SKY
Air France and KLM today introduced Wi-Fi on board two of their Boeing jets. The service will cost $15 for an hour or about $27 for a full flight. It was introduced today on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Panama and on an Air France flight from Paris to New York. They also have a free inflight website with TV news and sports and other features.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal today for a 3-night, 4-day bus tour of Washington D.C. (a city we're featuring, by the way, in the Thursday, May 30 Travel section). The tour is priced at $479, including all taxes.
- 3-Night/4-Day Washington Bus Tour with transportation from Toronto via Deluxe Motorcoach
- Guided tour of Washington City including visits to Lincoln Memorial, Reflection Pond, the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House, plus an ample amount of free time for shopping, sightseeing, or even a show!
- Not only is Washington D.C. rated as one of TripAdvisor's Top 25 Destinations in the U.S., but it ranks 6th on the list
- It's a city over-flowing with fascinating museums and monuments; a complete feast for your eyes (and your mind)! Don't miss the National Museum of American History or a walk around the Lincoln Memorial
- You'll be visiting right in time for the Capital Fringe Festival, an independant theatre festival that features all kinds of performing arts
- Valid for travel on July 19, 2013
- 3 nights' accommodation in Washington at the Hampton Inn Silver Spring in Silver Spring, Maryland (or simmilar)
- Meals include 3 breakfasts and 1 dinner
- Depart from any of the following pick-up locations:
Scarborough Town Centre (near YMCA, parking not available at this location)
230 Town Centre Court
Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre
55-3175 Rutherford Road
151 City Centre Drive
South of Square One Mall
(In front of Timi Hortons)
NO parking available at this location
Real Canadian Superstore (parking not available at this location)
361 South Service Road,
- Please arrive 30 minutes prior to pick-up time. All departure times are dependant on traffic
- Please indicate in the requests box at checkout the specific pick-up location of your choosing. Default pick up location is Vaughn Mills
- 'Includes complimentary parking at Sarracini Travel, located at Vaughan Mills departure location
- Pricing (Rates are per person, plus tax):
Other DATES and GATEWAYS available.
Call us at 1-855-687-5925.
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is 100% non-refundable at time of booking