Every two years, the World Monuments Fund issues a global alert about cultural heritage sites around the world that are endangered – either because of natural disasters, influx of tourism, neglect, or…well there are many reasons. And so many places.
The new, 2010 World Monuments Watch List includes Machu Picchu in Peru; Phajoding, a monastery in the mountains of Bhutan; the desert castles of ancient Khorezm, Uzbekistan; the Edinburgh Historic Graveyards in the United Kingdom, and 89 other sites.
One of my employees who grew up in Connecticut was startled to see the “bridges of the Merritt Parkway” on the list (“Madison County, it ain’t,” as she put it so eloquently). She has since changed her mind, after finding some lovely photographs of those bridges.
See the list here. You may be inspired to grab a flight – if so, may I suggest FareCompare’s deal finder? It’ll help you go anywhere in the world, at the cheapest possible price.
Hat tip to the Los Angeles Times.
Let me tell you the story of Foolish Traveler who sees the price of his airline ticket skyrocket, thanks to airline fees.
And this could in fact happen – depending on how foolish one is — because in the following example, we’ve used real airfare and real fee numbers.
The situation: Foolish Traveler purchases a roundtrip flight on United* from Los Angeles to San Francisco, over the phone. Later, he decides to change the dates and times of his flights. He also decides to bring Bobo along on the trip – his 80 pound Rottweiler. Plus, he checks two bags, one of which weighs 70 pounds, while the other is a huge suitcase. No food on this flight but Foolish Traveler will indulge in cocktails and “extra legroom”.
Total cost of airfare, $119.20. Total cost of fees, $1,415.00. REAL COST of ticket is a whopping $1,534.20.
Keep reading, for the breakdown of the fees…
*We chose United at random – many airlines charge similar fees (or even higher ones). Airline Fee Nightmare: How a $120 Flight Could Cost $1500
I’ve written about cell phones on planes before, and how they might be coming to U.S. airlines (though for now, the official word on that is, “no way“).
But there are calls, and there are calls – as a recent USA Today article underscores in a discussion of VoIP communication and conferencing on flights.
For those of you saying, “v-o-i-what?” – VoIP stands for “voice over internet protocol” and in simple terms, is a transmission technology for delivering your voice (and sometimes video) over the internet – like a phone call.
Neither the FAA nor the FCC outlaw such calls, as far as I can determine – but the airlines do (or many say they do, anyway). But – why? Very good question, so, keep reading… Cell Phones on Planes? No. Then How About VoIP Calls?
When I first saw this in the Daily Mail, I had to check the date – so certain was I that this was an April Fools’ prank. But it wasn’t.
It seems All Nippon Airways (ANA) is conducting a month long experiment, now underway, to see if getting people to empty their bladders before boarding – thereby ditching some weight – will mean a lighter aircraft, less fuel usage, and a reduction in carbon emissions.
My head is spinning.
I will spare you the details of how much a human bladder can hold, (but my friends at ABCNews.com are much more in depth so read their informative take on this, which includes a quote from yours truly). However, I do think the folks running the Japanese carrier are a little optimistic when they say they hope to reduce carbon emissions by five tons over 30 days.
I just have one question: How come Ryanair didn’t come up with this first?
A voice of sanity?
The airline exec calling for a crackdown is Virgin’s Richard Branson, and he was actually complaining about excess fees on Australian airlines, but his sentiments apply all over:
“The extra fees are not a good idea. The problem is that once one airline has done it, it makes their basic ticket price look less and therefore the other airlines have to match it otherwise people think that the other airline is cheaper than they are.” -Sir Richard Branson, 10-1-09
Keep reading for more of the legendary entrepreneur’s thinking – and my response to some of his ideas… Airline Fees: Airline Exec Calls for Crackdown on Excess Fees
Here we go, the latest roundup of figures from the Dept. of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). This latest release is all about August 2009.
On-Time: The overall on-time arrival rate for U.S. airlines was 79.7% — better than July, and better than August 2008.
Lost Bags: The “mishandled baggage” rate was 4.04 reports per 1,000 passengers, better than a year ago, but worse than July.
Pets: There were 3 pet deaths in August – better than July, and better than August 2008 (but still unacceptable)
Most Delayed Flights: The worst offenders were Comair and Pinnacle, but AirTran made the top five, with its flight 333 from Philadelphia to Atlanta – late 87% of the time.
Who gets the fun of sitting in those wide, comfy leather seats with all the toys?
Leisure travelers! Well, and a few corporate types. But not enough.
And that’s not good news for the airlines, as I point out in my latest column for ABCNews.com – carriers need those seats filled with expense account guys & gals – who normally pay four to eight times as much as economy passengers.
But – there’s a change in the wind. Maybe. Maybe business class isn’t completely dead yet – in fact, it may be coming out of its coma. At least British Airways thinks so. Please see my latest column for more.
Actually, I should have titled this, “FareCompare’s Deal Finder Can Put You Anywhere You Want to Go” – but, that’s too long. And besides, I had Hawaii on the brain.
And look what I found – these cheap flights to Honolulu – and I found them by spending all of about five seconds on deal finder. Take a look:
Seattle to Honolulu, $355 roundtrip
Phoenix to Honolulu, $376 roundtrip
If you’ve never been to FareCompare’s deal finder, go ahead – take a few minutes to explore all the different destinations we’ve grouped together for you (Beaches, Great Outdoors, Fall Foliage and more). You’ll be amazed at how much fun it is to see what’s out there, and how many deals are available.