Monday, December 09, 2013

Airlines That Offer In-Flight Phone Calls and Texting

There are at least 19 airlines that currently allow passengers to make calls from their mobile phone while in flight. So far there haven't been many complaints, probably because it costs so much that the calls being made are short. The calls are contingent on individual passengers' international calling plans. International roaming rates tend to be in the $3 to $4 per minute range, and are billed to the passenger by their network operator. The average in-flight voice call is less than two minutes, and commonly takes place before takeoff or after landing as passengers connect with families, colleagues and friends. 

Here is a list of airlines that allow voice calls, SMS texting, and/or email and data on passengers' mobile phones. Aer Lingus Long haul but doesn't allow voice calls; Aeroflot A320, A330, B777; Air Asia select short-haul flights; Air France select long haul B77-300; Azerbaijan Airlines A320; British Airways A318; Egypt Air A330; Emirates long haul to/from Dubai; Etihad long haul; KLM B777-300; Libyan Airlines A320, A330; Malaysia Airlines Select Boeing 777 flights; Oman Air Select A330 flights; Philippine Airlines A330, B777; Qatar Airways A320, B787; Royal Jordanian A320; SAS B737-883; Saudi Arabian Airlines A330, B777; Singapore Airlines Select A340, A380, B777; TAM A320 family; TAP Portugal Select A319s; Transaero Select B747s, B777s; Virgin Atlantic A330-300, B747-400. In-flight voice calls have restrictions: They are not allowed during takeoff or landings, airlines generally disable them at night, and the cockpit and crew have separate switches to turn off voice calls, if desired. 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

TSA Attempting to Reduce Airport Lines

Travelers who use the TSA's Pre-Check program get to keep their shoes, belts and sweaters on and do not have to pull their laptops from cases or display their baggy of liquids as they hustle through special airport checkpoint lines. Their carry-on luggage still passes through X-ray machines, and they still must step through metal detectors. The TSA says that more than 25 million fliers have used the zip-through-security program since its soft rollout in 2011. 

Now it is opening a registration Web site, sign-up centers at major airports and a few downtown locations nationwide, with the first at Indianapolis International Airport this week and one set to open at Dulles International before year's end. Opening the enrollment centers, 300 in all, will be a step toward TSA's grander plan to reduce the security hassle for low-risk passengers so workers can focus on those who give some reason for suspicion. The TSA says someone who shows up at an enrollment center will spend about 10 minutes (not counting any wait time) signing up for the program. It requires a background check, fingerprints and an $85 fee for a five-year enrollment. A passport, required for some other programs, is not necessary. Members will receive a "known traveler number" to provide to airlines when making a reservation. That makes the traveler eligible for the speedy line at 102 big airports or when flying with seven airlines, including all the major ones. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hotels Utilizing Unused Space for Guest Offices

Hotels are reacting to, and capitalizing on the changing habits of today's workers, who are increasingly deciding for themselves where and how they're going to work. Hotels are especially trying to appeal to travelers in their 20s and 30s who have a unique style of working. These next-generation professionals grew up working in Starbucks, Panera, libraries, and working outside. 

Marriott's Workspace on Demand program, at more than 200 properties, is a collaboration with Liquid Space, a mobile/Web app that connects people to spaces to work and meet. Hotel 1000 in Seattle offers travelers and telecommuters pop-up offices in meeting rooms or private-function spaces that would otherwise be empty. From Monday to Friday, the hotel announces on its Facebook and Twitter pages and at which spaces are available and for how much. Rather than open windowless conference rooms to workers, a number of hotels are making livelier spaces or outdoor areas available. The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort in Florida, for instance, has a tiki hut that workers can use. The Marriott Marquis in Atlanta has a 49th floor space with an expansive view of the city. At Topaz Hotel in Wasington, D.C., workers can reserve the Moroccan-themed Zen Den toward the back of the bar for meetings. At the Delano Hotel South Beach and Mondrian South Beach in Miami, people can book poolside cabanas. The cabanas have been outfitted with Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and, upon request, wireless printing!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Favorite and Least Favorite Airports

USA TODAY recently sent an informal airport survey out to more than 1,600 of the world's most frequent business travelers who volunteer information to the news outlet. Dallas Fort/Worth Airport finished No. 1 among U.S. airports, and Amsterdam's Schiphol airport ranks at the top of foreign airports. Least favorites were O'Hare and Paris' Charles DeGaulle. Atlanta, Detroit and San Francisco were favorite runners-up for domestic airports. In expressing his displeasure with CDG, one responder said, "I simply have quit flying ever into Paris Charles de Gaulle. It just doesn't work at all on any level. It's located way outside the city, it's a long, expensive taxi ride in, the design and layout are confusing, and there is literally nothing to do at that airport."

Thursday, November 07, 2013

White House Tours Resume After 7 Months

The White House resumed public tours on Tuesday, seven months after they were suspended due to government-wide spending cuts. The self-guided tours are resuming on a limited basis of about three days a week, down from five. They'll run through Jan. 15, when temporary funding runs out. The White House says visitors who want to request a public tour should contact their member of Congress.

Friday, November 01, 2013

FAA to Allow Use of Electronic Devices on Flights

The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it will allow the use of electronic devices at all stages of flight, but that airlines will have to test their own aircraft to make sure there is no interference. The FAA released a statement prior to the press conference that read, "The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta today announced that the FAA has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight, and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance. Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year." 

Jet Blue became the first airline to allow passengers use electronic devices throughout the flight. Airlines have to prove to the FAA that their take off and landing operations won't be affected by the use of the electronic devices. JetBlue said its tests had been certified and their passengers were able to use their devices starting at 6 pm last night. Delta was waiting for approval and is ready to start today if the FAA approves. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled, no signal bars displayed, and cannot be used for voice communications due to Federal Communications Commission regulations that prohibit any airborne calls on cell phones. The new rules apply only to flights in the U.S., and not flights to U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Around the World

Last weekend I took the annual trip out to the local pumpkin patch with my daughter, to pick some pumpkins that we carved into jack-o-lanterns. It got me thinking about Halloween. Of course here in the states that means trick-or-treating, lots of candy, costume parties, jack-o-lanterns and spooky movies. But I got curious about what people do in other parts of the world for this holiday, and what other countries even celebrate Halloween. Here’s what I found out.

Halloween is celebrated in North America, Canada and Ireland more than anywhere else in the world.

Ireland is believed to have been the birth place of Halloween. During the eighth century the Catholic Church designated the first day of November as 'All Saints Day’, a day of commemoration for those Saints that did not have a specific day of remembrance. The night before became known as 'All Hallows Eve' which, over time, became known as Halloween.

Carving Pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out. The tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born - the bearer being the wandering blacksmith - a damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in millions to America there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.

Today the Irish celebrate Halloween very similarly to Americans, with trick-or-treating, parties, and many also have bonfires.

In Mexico, Latin America and Spain, they celebrate “El Dia de los Muertos”, meaning Day of the Dead. Family & friends gather to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed away, and build private altars honoring them. The altars are decorated with candy sculls, flowers, water and other food. This celebration occurs on Nov. 1st and 2nd.

In Belgium, many light candles on Halloween night in memory of deceased relatives.

In Austria some people leave out bread and water on a table at night, as it was once believed it would welcome dead souls back to earth.

Germans put away their knives on Halloween night, as they do not want to risk harm on the returning spirits.

In England, many of the children have recently started trick-or-treating. Although, since it is so new here, many adults, especially older generations, aren’t familiar with it and usually don’t have candy ready to hand out on Halloween.

In China the holiday is called “Teng Chieh”, the Chinese people place food & water in front of photographs of the deceased, and burn bonfires & lanterns as a way to guide the spirits as they travel back to earth on Halloween night.

In Hong Kong it is known as “Yue Lan”, the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. They believe that spirits roam the world for 24 hours.

If you are interested in celebrating Halloween somewhere else this year, or just want to plan a Fall Vacation, contact a Travel Professional for some great Fall specials today!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Security Check Now Starts Long Before Your Flight

The New York Times reports the Transportation Security Administration is expanding its screening of passengers before they arrive at the airport by searching a wide array of government and private databases that can include records like car registrations and employment information. If you have SSSS printed on your boarding pass it means you have been picked for enhanced screening. The TSA says that while the goal is to streamline the security procedures for millions of passengers who pose no risk, the new measures give the government greater authority to use travelers' data for domestic airport screenings. Previously that level of scrutiny applied only to individuals entering the United States. The prescreening, some of which is already taking place, is described in documents the T.S.A. released to comply with government regulations about the collection and use of individuals' data, but the details of the program have not been publicly announced. It is unclear precisely what information the agency is relying upon to make these risk assessments, given the extensive range of records it can access, including tax identification number, past travel itineraries, property records, physical characteristics, and law enforcement or intelligence information. The measures go beyond the background check the government has conducted for years, called Secure Flight, in which a passenger's name, gender and date of birth are compared with terrorist watch lists. Now, the search includes using a traveler's passport number, which is already used to screen people at the border, and other identifiers to access a system of databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New UK Border Rules Could Turn Flight Attendants into Immigration Officers

The UK has a new immigration bill that could affect anyone travelling to the UK. Airline passengers could face lengthy queues at the departure gates when a raft of new border checks are introduced in 18 months. All travelers will have their passports swiped before they board their flight. The government wants airline staff to take on some of the power of an immigration officer so they can carry out passport inspections at the departure gate. Airlines will be compelled to carry out the checks or face a fine, under measures published by the Government in the Bill. It means airline staff, or those working for the airport, will check passports against electronic databases to "identify threats or persons of interest". The government is committed to introduce the exit checks by 2015 and the legislation will introduce powers to enable carrier and port operator staff to play a role in carrying out the checks. The aim of the bill is to make it much harder for offenders to flee British justice and to better identify those who are in the UK illegally.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

JFK Gets Automated Passport System

JFK International saw the introduction of automated passport machines yesterday to speed up the arrival of U.S. passengers from international flights. It's the latest airport-and one of the largest-to get the system. Similar self-service machines already in use at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Terminal 5, and at two airports in Canada (Vancouver and Montreal) are already helping to significantly cut down wait times at customs that, at times, have forced arriving international passengers to stand in line for up to five hours or to be held back on a plane. 40 automated passport kiosks have been purchased by Delta for use in Terminal 4, where it is the largest tenant among more than 30 airlines. At JFK, only U.S. citizens will initially be able to use the machines, but soon Canadian citizens should be able to use the machines as well. The machines are being tested and if all goes well, they will be in operation by tomorrow.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Best Places for Fall Foliage in the U.S.

Autumn has fallen upon us in North America once again. The days are getting shorter, and the nights a little colder. In most areas of the country, leaves start turning in mid September; however the first two weeks of October is typically the peak for viewing foliage at its best, when leaves are their most brilliant. However, the amount of rain fall in a year also determines when leaves change and are their most intense.

These are some of the most beautiful places for fall foliage in the country.

Massachusetts features some of the best places for fall foliage; Cape Cod, the Berkshires, and the Mohawk trail are also some of the most popular. Visit a small historic village, small seaside town or beautiful rolling countryside.

Vermont enjoys a longer foliage season than most places, which runs from early September through late October. Vermont features some of New England’s most scenic golf courses, and also offers many fall festivals.

New Hampshire has 14 officially designated scenic drives covering over 900 miles. Drive over one of the states’ 50 covered bridges, or enjoy fall activities such as fall fairs or llama trekking.

Wisconsin offers prime fall color from mid-September through mid-October, and a variety of fall activities such as several fall festivals, corn mazes, resort destinations and beautiful fall drives along the Lake Michigan shoreline or through Kettle Moraine State forest.

Michigan offers many opportunities to view changing scenery and colors. Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest water falls west of the Mississippi, or Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are just a few. There are also a lot of farmers markets and U-pick fruit and vegetable stands throughout the state in the fall.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rules Changing for Mobile Devices on Flights

An FAA advisory panel is expected to recommend relaxing restrictions on electronic devices during flights. The rules on when to turn off electronic devices on airplanes has long been a contentious point for travelers. But faced with a surge of electronics on airplanes and under pressure from a growing number of tech-savvy, and increasingly tech-dependent, passengers, the Federal Aviation Administration recognized that change was inevitable. This week, an FAA advisory panel will meet to complete its recommendations to relax most of the restrictions. The guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and watching videos. The ban on sending and receiving emails and text messages or using Wi-Fi during takeoff or landing is expected to remain in place, as is the prohibition on making phone calls throughout the flight.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

World's Largest Ferris Wheel is Under Construction

The world's largest ferris wheel is being built in Las Vegas. The outer wheel of the 55-story High Roller ride is scheduled to be hoisted into place Monday. The huge project is now visible from all over the city, including the airport. Early next year, it will be outfitted with 1,500 LED lights and start its slow spin. Caesars Entertainment Corp. is building the ride as part of a $550 million development across the street from Caesars Palace. The High Roller will be 100 feet taller than the London Eye, which opened in 2000, 30 feet taller than China's Star of Nanchang, which opened in 2006, and 9 feet taller than the Singapore Flyer, which opened in 2008. The Las Vegas ride will take 30 minutes to make one revolution. Tickets will be comparable to the London ride, which costs about $30, according to Caesars spokeswoman. The High Roller won't be the tallest for long as New York announced plans last year for a 625 foot ride on the waterfront.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

More Travelers Can Keep Shoes on at US Airports

The TSA announced yesterday that it would expand an expedited program to 60 more airports this year, allowing tens of millions of travelers to keep on their shoes and belts at airport checkpoints. The TSA's Pre Check program will expand to 100 airports in 42 US states plus Guam and Puerto Rico. The agency also plans to expand the number of TSA Pre Check lanes at the existing 40 airports in the coming weeks. TSA Pre Check allows pre-approved airline travelers may leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt while they go through security. They do not have to remove laptop computers from cases or take out approved-sized liquids out of carry-on bags before the bags are screened. Passengers who are eligible for Pre Check include U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs who are invited to apply by participating airlines including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Airlines Offering Child-Free Zones

Scoot Airlines, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, announced that it will let passengers pay about $14 to sit in a "child-free" zone. Children under the age of 12 are banned from sitting in this "Scoot in Silence" area, which will span rows 21 to 25 on its flights. This area also offers a few inches of more legroom. Scoot offers flights to Singapore, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Seoul and Nanjing. The airline joins Air Asia X, which also offers child-free zones. Air Asia X launched its "quiet zone" in February. Children under 12 aren't allowed to sit in this zone, which is composed of rows 7 - 14 in the premium cabin on some of its flights to Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal and Korea.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

10 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Wherever you're traveling, and whether it be for vacation or business, of course you want to remain healthy. Here are a few tips to help out.

1. Reduce airport stress by allowing plenty of time to check in and get through security.

2. Always carry any medications with you in your carry-on, in their original containers.

3. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes during your flight.

4. Eat lightly before and during your flight (and pack your own food).

5. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water both during your flight and for the duration of your trip.

6. Try to stand up and walk around the airplane cabin every once in a while.

7. Never purchase foreign medications unless you are familiar with them.

8. Make sure to wear sun block at tropical locations or in high altitudes.

9. Utilize hotel gyms, or if your hotel doesn't have one, go for brisk walks at least every other day.

10. Try to get a room with a refrigerator and microwave (or at least a refrigerator). That way you can stock it with your own food from the store, and have more control over what you eat.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today for assistance with booking your next trip!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

10 Helpful Tips for Packing Light

With practically every airline charging fees for checked bags these days, many travelers are trying to find ways to avoid checking bags all together.

Packing light has many advantages besides just avoiding airline fees. For example, you don't have to stand around for an hour waiting for your bags to show up on the baggage carrousel upon arrival at your destination and there's no chance that your bags will be lost or damaged en route. It's also easier to get through busy airports and train stations with fewer and smaller bags, and it makes it simple to take public transportation, rather than relying on high cost taxis and limos.

Here are some tips and suggestions for packing light, and fitting all your travel luxuries into one easy, carry-on bag.

1. Make a Packing List base on items and clothing that you know you'll need on your trip and stick to it! Try to avoid bringing items that you think you might need.

2. Wear layered clothing when you travel, that stretches and breathes giving you more room in your bag.

3. Pack wrinkle-free clothing as much as possible.

4. Rolling your clothes instead of laying them flat in the bag will provide more space.

5. Select one or two color scheme. Sometimes it's a good idea to add a few items with dark patterns, such as plaids as they help hide wrinkles, stains and dirt.

6. Reversible clothing, especially tops, are great choices since they effectively double your clothing choices.

7. Pack clothing that will dry quickly as you may need to wash some items during your trip.

8. Consider using a dual-purpose bag (suitcase/backpack combined) if you're going to be doing a lot of walking.

9. To simplify things for yourself, consider buying toiletries such as shampoo and toothpaste during your trip.

10. Make sure to follow the TSA 3-1-1 Liquid Rules;

Any liquid or gel packed in your carry-on bag must fit in a container that is a maximum of 3 ounces.
1 Quart: Containers carrying your liquids and gels must be packed in a clear, plastic bag that is no larger than 1 quart and has to be able to close completely.

1 Person: Every person is allowed to bring one clear, quart-size bag of properly sized containers noted above. Many stores have increase their supply of toiletries that meet the TSA guidelines.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to get started booking your next vacation!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Spain is Changing it's Travel Policies with Gibraltar

Spain says it is considering retaliatory measures towards the British Territory of Gibraltar that could include a 50 Euro border crossing fee. Spain is upset because Gibraltar is buidling an

artificial reef that is causing damage to fishing grounds. The proceeds of the fee would be used to help Spanish fishermen who have lost out because of the damage to the fishing grounds. Tax investigations into thousands of Gibraltarians who own property in Spain could also be launched. Spain is also considering closing airspace to planes heading to Gibraltar airport as well as changing rules to increase tax revenue from online gaming companies based on "the Rock". 

The Spanish ambassador was summoned to the British Foreign Office last week to explain why people crossing the border were having to wait up to seven hours in sweltering heat. Britain has held sovereignty over Gibraltar for three centuries and its 2.6 square miles is home to 30,000 people, with an economy dominated by off-shore banking, internet gambling operations and tourism. Ownership of the territory has long been a point of contention between Spain and Britain. The latest tensions began 10 days ago after Gibraltarian boats began dumping blocks of concrete into the sea near the territory.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Some Airlines are Now Weighing Carry-ons

Airline passengers are being warned they could face excess baggage fees at the check-in desk as handbags are being weighed. Travelers are being left confused by different carry-on luggage policies across airlines, and have been urged to closely read the individual allowances and also check baggage size. In Asia budget carriers Tiger and Jetstar weigh handbags as part of 10kg, two-item domestic carry-on limits. Passengers flying with airlines that have self check-in kiosks can go to the gate without their cabin bags being weighed, but may be pulled up by staff if they appear to be carrying too much. If a trip entails more than one airline be sure to check the luggage policies of both of them.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Universal Studios Bringing Back "The Walking Dead"

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort debut all new terrifying mazes inspired by Season 3 of the television series "The Walking Dead" at this year's Halloween Horror Nights events, beginning Sept. 20. The real maze experiences will place "Halloween Horror Nights" guests at the heart of the show's once impenetrable prison, the West Georgia Correctional Facility, now overrun by hordes of flesh-eating walkers. The mazes will send guests cowering through the walker-infested wilderness that surrounds the prison and into the town of Woodbury where gruesome secrets are concealed. Universal Orlando is also dedicating its entire "Halloween Horror Nights" street experience to "The Walking Dead," making this the first time ever that all of the scare zones throughout the park will be themed after a hit television series. Guests brave enough to walk the streets of Universal Studios Florida will encounter iconic scenes from all three seasons of the hit show, including the perilous city of Atlanta and Hershel's dismal barn and fleets of blood-thirsty walkers who are hungry for their next victim.

Universal Studios' "Halloween Horror Nights" events have a more than 20 year history of creating horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation's best. The events on each coast feature highly themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from films to nightmares, and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained "scare actors."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Delta Adding Seattle to London Flights

Delta Airlines announced that it is launching a non-stop daily service between Seattle and Heathrown airports beginning in March 2014. The route will be operated by a 210-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft featuring 35 full flat-bed seats in business, 32 seats in premium economy and 143 economy seats. The outgoing flight departs Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 6:40 p.m. and arrives at London Heathrow at 12:05 p.m. the following day. The return service leaves Heathrow at 12:20 p.m. and arrives at Seattle at 2:40 p.m. on the same day.

Currently, only British Airways flies on the non-stop Seattle to London route with a daily service which code shares with joint business partner American Airlines. Tickets for the route, which begins on March 29 (March 30 for the return service), will be available to purchase from July 27.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your Europe vacation!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Venice Now Available on Google Street View

It has taken six years, but the secrets of Venice's watery back alleys have finally been added to Google Street View. Google was unable to take their camera car to some of the narrow and winding back streets of Venice. Instead they used physically fit technicians to walk Venice's alleys wearing a backpack-mounted camera. In April two sturdy Google employees were each sent carrying a 4ft tall, 40lb backpack and camera which resembles an insect's eye and sticks above the wearer's head. The cameras' 15-angle lenses takes a picture every 2.5 seconds which can be merged into a 360degree view.

Google has already added the Antarctic, the inside of the White House and the Great Barrier Reef (underwater) to Street View, which was launched in 2007, but a spokesman said Venice was considered a feather in its cap. Google has previously used a tricycle-mounted camera to shoot inside parks and a trolley to get inside museums, but both methods were no good at scaling the steps over the bridges crossing Venice's canals. The backpack device, known as the trekker, has been used on Grand Canyon hiking paths in the US, the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai and inside the Alhambra palace in southern Spain.

The images from Venice should be online by the end of the year, said Evans. Google is also planning to snap Venice from a boat as the vessel plies the city's canals, a service which has been dubbed "Google gondola".

Monday, July 15, 2013

US Airways Baggage Delivery Service

US Airways now gives their customers the ability to skip the line at baggage claim with Bags VIP delivery service. This service delivers bags to a passengers home, hotel or office. Travelers can schedule and pay for Bags VIP delivery up to one hour prior to their scheduled departure by visiting Once scheduled, customers need only to drop the bags off at the airport, pay any applicable baggage fees and they will be delivered within four to six hours of arrival. Bags VIP delivery service is offered in all domestic locations the airline serves. The airline also offers customers the Track Your Bag tool on Track Your Bag allows travelers to follow their bags from check-in to landing from their smart phone, tablet or laptop. Any passenger connected to the Internet can now view real-time information on the bag's status, including when the bag is checked in, on a plane, and off a plane, with US Airways' Track Your Bag tool.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Royal Caribbean Getting Viewing Pods on Some Ships

The 'North Star', a jewel-shaped, glass capsule will lift cruise passengers 91 meters above sea level before swinging out over the sea for this first-of-its-kind guest experience.  Crane supplier MacGregor is going to provide Royal Caribbean International's first Quantum-class ship, Quantum of the Seas, with the viewing pod. This will be a first for cruise ships. Fourteen guests and one crew member can be accommodated in the 7.1-ton viewing gondola, which will be fitted with a stabilizing system designed to provide a comfortable ride for guests. MacGregor, the crane supplier said "All crane movements will be smooth and immediate, with step less speed control, essential for this type of guest experience. It is also important that the experience is as quiet as possible, so the main power pack will be rubber-suspended to minimize vibrations and noise transmission; the crane housing will also be isolated to minimize noise. Given the vessel's cruising areas, the system is fitted with an air-type cooler to keep the crane's hydraulic oil at a moderate temperature even in very hot ambient conditions, which ensures a long oil life and reliable crane performance." 

The 16-deck, 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas ship is currently under construction at German shipyard, Meyer Werft and is scheduled to cross from Southampton to New York in autumn 2014. The vessel is then expected to depart New York from her Cape Liberty homeport for 7 to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014-15 season. Quantum-class sister ship Anthem of the Seas is expected to debut in spring 2015. 

Contact a Cruise Specialist today to book your next cruise vacation!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Best 4th of July Fireworks Displays

Original Article: Travelers Today
By: Katie McFadden

July 4th 2013 is almost here and that can only mean one thing: Fireworks! Nothing completes an Independence Day celebration like a spectacular fireworks show. Luckily, exciting displays are set off across the United States for the holiday and chances are there's one near you.  Travel Zoo released a list of some of the biggest and best fireworks displays around the country.

New York City
NYC has one of the biggest, most spectacular sky shows every year. This year, more than 40,000 fireworks will light up the skies over the Hudson River. The show, sponsored by Macy's, will start at around 8 p.m. and will be televised for those who can't be there. There will also be special performances by Usher, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Mariah Carey and more.

Boston holds another impressive show. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is in its 40th year. This annual free concert at the DCR Hatch Shell in Beacon Hill will feature Susan Tedeschi, Ellis Hall, Howie Day and Ayla Brown. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Washington, D.C.
Nothing is more patriotic than watching fireworks in the nation's capitol. Fireworks will be launched from the Reflecting Pool area of the National Mall at 9:17 p.m. and will be visible from various locations around D.C. and parts of northern Virginia.  

Philadelphia After you grab a cheese steak, check out the Grand Finale Fireworks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The display tops off a day of parties and concerts featuring The Roots, John Mayer, Neo, Jill Scott, J. Cole, Grace Potter, Ben Taylor and Demi Lovato.

Head to the popular Navy Pier throughout the week to catch a display over Lake Michigan on July 3 and July 4 at 9:30 p.m. or on July 6 at 10:15 p.m. The downtown area gets overcrowded, so consider heading a bit father south or to Evanston to get a lakefront view.

Near Dallas, the appropriately named Kaboom Town show is just like anything else in Texas--big. The show starts around 9:30 p.m. in the Dallas suburb and it shouldn't be missed.

In the heart of country, visitors and locals can check out At The Lawn at Riverfront Park, a show of more than 25,000 fireworks that are set to live music by the Nashville Symphony at 9:50 p.m.

San Francisco
Don't miss the show over the Bay in front of Pier 39. The show kicks off at 9:30 p.m. and viewers can get a glimpse from Coit Tower, the Cannery and Ghirardelli Square.

Seattle The Lake Union 4th of July fireworks have been held for more than 60 years, but they're still terrific. This year's show starts at 10:15 p.m. at Gas Works Park in the Wallingford neighborhood. Boaters will be able to access the south end of Lake Union to get a waterfront view.  

Original article can be found here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island ReOpen on 4th of July

The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island have been closed since Superstorm Sandy struck on October 29, causing flooding and damage.  The National Park Service is anticipating a busy July 4 weekend, based on advance ticket sales. Visitors are encouraged to book their visit in advance. Advance reservations are required for access to the Statue of Liberty's crown. Reservations can be made at Tickets are for a specific date and time and must be picked up at the ferry departure point in Battery Park in Manhattan.

All visitors will be screened in Manhattan prior to boarding the ferry. Those with crown reservations will have a second screening on Liberty Island before beginning the climb of 339 steps from the main lobby to the crown platform. An elevator goes only as high as the statue's pedestal, leaving 146 steps to get to the top. The only restrooms are in the statue's lobby. Ellis Island was also damaged in the storm.  It requires more extensive repairs and remains closed. There is no reopening date at this time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

FAA to Relax Rules for Electronic Gadgets in Flight

Airline passengers may not have to turn off devices in the near future as regulators are set to allow wider use of electronic gadgets in flight. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to relax the ban on using some types of personal-electronic devices at low altitudes, allowing passengers leeway during taxiing and even takeoffs and landings, according to draft recommendations prepared by a high-level advisory panel to the agency.

For fliers, the new rules would likely mean an end to familiar admonitions to turn off and stow all electronic devices. Cell phone calls are expected to remain off limits. The draft doesn't make any recommendations regarding phone use because the FAA didn't authorize the panel to delve into that particularly controversial issue. Details are still being debated by the group and inside the FAA and could change. The draft report reflects a consensus that the existing rules, essentially unchanged since the 1960s, have been overtaken by dramatic changes in technology and passenger expectations.

The FAA's anticipated decision would relax the rules for use of approved devices from the time cabin doors close to when the plane reaches 10,000 feet. Some devices, such as e-readers, could even be used during all phases of a flight, if the FAA goes along with the thrust of the draft recommendations. The debate also has international ramifications, since rules for Wi-Fi systems and cell phone usage, vary among airlines and countries. Formed by the FAA last August, the 28-member panel includes industry, government and pilot-union representatives. Its findings have been eagerly awaited by airlines, regulators and safety experts around the world.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Paris Offers Training Manual to Improve Tourism Reputation

Paris has embarked on a new campaign to improve its reputation and better cater to the needs of tourists, because of its reputation of being rude to tourists. Waiters, taxi drivers and sales staff in the French capital are being given a manual with guidelines on better etiquette. The six-page booklet entitled "Do you speak Touriste?" contains greetings in eight languages including German, Chinese and Portuguese and advice on the spending habits and cultural codes of different nationalities.

France is the world's top destination for foreign tourists. Last year Paris had some 29 million people visited the City of Light. Tourism accounts for one in every ten jobs in the region. The Paris Chamber of Commerce and the regional tourism committee have warned, however, that growing competition from friendlier cities like London meant Paris needed to work harder to attract visitors, especially from emerging market countries such as China.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next France vacation!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Historic D.C. Post Office Becoming Trump Hotel

The new venture by Donald Trump will turn the historic Washington Post Office into a luxury hotel which will include restaurants, conference rooms and a spa. An agreement for the future of the property was struck between the Trump Organization and the General Services Administration. The 114-year old property's historic features remaining will be preserved throughout the process. The deal must be reviewed by Congress before completion. The agreement allows Trump to lease the property for 60 years, and he is expected to put some $200 million into the project. If Congress allows the agreement to pass, the redevelopment project is slated to begin in 2014 and open tentatively in 2016. Trump expects the project to create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of dollars in investments for the District. The GSA acting administrator said the lease will help in saving the federal government millions of dollars while preserving a historical site.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

United Airlines Introduces Baggage Subsciption

United Airlines is now offering travelers a way to pay for checking their baggage for an entire year. United's baggage subscription service allows travelers to prepay their standard checked baggage charges for an entire year. Travelers can customize their subscription online by selecting the number of bags, the number of passengers and the preferred geographic regions. The new program started earlier this week.  United is also offering annual subscription service for Economy Plus seating.  "The Economy Plus and checked baggage subscriptions offer our customers more of the comfort and convenience they value year round," Scott Wilson, United's vice president of merchandising and e-commerce, said. Subscriptions can also be given as a gift. United is currently the only U.S. carrier to offer an annual subscription for its extra-legroom economy seating and checked baggage service charges. A "global" checked-baggage subscription includes two bags, and costs $799.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

NYC Launches Bike Share Program

The privately funded Citi Bike bike share program launched in New York this week, after lead sponsor Citigroup Inc. The 6,000 bikes are stationed primarily in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, with over 300 docking stations. Officials hope to eventually expand to 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. The program could potentially ease traffic congestion and air pollution for New York.  Riders now can unlock the three-gear, cruising-style bikes from any station, take them for 45-minute rides and return them to any rack. Of all the more than 500 bike-sharing systems around the world, New York's is the biggest in the United States. Almost twenty thousand people have already signed up for New York's program.

The city has hundreds of miles of bike lanes and promotes cycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to driving. Officials see bike-sharing as a big next step. Citi Bike subscribers pay a $95 annual fee for unlimited rides of 45 minutes. Starting June 2, riders also will be able to buy a 24-hour pass for about $10 and a seven-day pass for $25; both allow for an unlimited number of 30-minute trips. The usage time is logged when a bicycle is returned to a dock, with additional charges if the bikes have been out past the allotted time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cuba Cruise to Begin Sailing in December

Cuba Cruise will make its first sailing on December 16 using Louis Cristal as its ship. The seven night cruise will sail around Cuba and continue to March 24. Cuba Cruise ship circles around the island with itineraries starting in Havana and Montego Bay. You can board at either city. The 25,611 ton Louis Cristal has a yacht-like design with both staterooms and suites. Some have balconies and all have shower, bathroom, telephone, hairdryer and TV. The all-inclusive sailings will have Cuban entertainment and cuisine imported from Canada. Passengers will be able to visit six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The ship calls at Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Montego Bay, Cienfugeos & Trinidad, Puenta Francis and Havana. The lead-in price is $586 per person.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next cruise.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why You Should Use a Travel Agent

In this era of technology, many travelers have foregone the days of using of a Travel Agent, and instead have began booking all their travels online.

In some cases, such as a simple non-stop flight within the United States, this is often the quickest and easiest scenario. However, there are many cases where booking your trip with a huge online company may not be to your benefit.

For instance, if you are planning a vacation to a foreign country that you know very little about, it’s probably in your best interest to contact a Travel Agency that specializes in that country. Most Travel Agents specialize in a specific country or region of the world, and they can be an abundance of knowledge and information, and very helpful with planning all the details of your vacation, finding the best rates, assisting with travel visa’s, etc.

Also, think of all the time you will save if you use a Travel Agent. Once you have discussed your travel dates, interests and budget with a Travel Agent, you can relax and let them do all the work for you, and rest assured that they will have the knowledge of which hotels and tour companies are more reputable, will give you the best experience and provide the most value for you.

The most important reason to book with a Travel Agent, as many travelers have found out the hard way, is in case a problem or emergency should arise during your trip. Say you booked your trip with one of the huge online companies or directly with the airline. If an emergency, such as a natural disaster, inclement weather or even personal emergency should occur, good luck getting assistance. You are pretty much on your own. Most airlines have substantially cut back on their customer service staff in recent years, making wait times painfully long.
When your trip has been booked with a Travel Agency, you have the comfort of having a direct phone number and email address to contact your personal Travel Agent for quick and personal support and assistance. Travel Agents are typically able to get in contact with the airlines, hotels or travel insurance quickly, and also assist with rebooking flights much quicker than the average traveler can.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to get started booking your next vacation!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

US Border Control Implements New Technology to Reduce Long Lines

The United State Border Control has implemented new technology aimed at reducing lines and increasing the efficiency of the United States border crossing process. Launching first in the Vancouver International Airport, and then followed closely by Chicago's O'Hare, the technology will allow for passengers to skip the traditional filled out documents in favor of the now-ubiquitous e-kiosks.

The new program is called Automated Passport Control. It has the ability to set the global standard for improving passenger efficiency when travelling to the United States. Automated Passport Control will eliminate the declaration card by placing all of the necessary questions on the kiosk. Travelers will then receive a printed receipt and show the receipt rather than the hand-written card.  Travelers will then show their passport, kiosk receipt and any other travel information to the customs agent for processing.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Right and Wrong Ways to Get Your Flight Attendants Attention

Original Article by: Bobby Laurie

Your flight attendant is a very popular person! With fewer flights comes fuller planes and a smaller flight attendant to passenger ratio. In fact, the FAA regulates that ratio and says one flight attendant is needed for every 50 seats on a plane. With most aircraft carrying around 150 people, that's only three flight attendants to tend to everyone's drink, food and special requests on your flight. So, I talked with a few flight attendants and came up with the top five right and wrong ways to get your flight attendant's attention!

WRONG (and probably the WORST): Keep your hands to yourself!
You shouldn't poke, slap or tap them to get their attention. Can you imagine walking through a cabin and having someone at every row poke you on either side, on your back, tap your shoulder or even, slap your behind? You can't? Well I can! On a recent flight that's exactly what happened while I was walking through the cabin picking up trash. Trust me, we're not going anywhere! We're stuck in the same metal tube going 500mph together. I will get around to getting your trash and I know you're there! I became increasingly frustrated as I was being treated like the Pillsbury Dough Boy but only resorted to verbally acknowledging everyone saying "I know, I know, I'm coming! I'll get there.. I see you!" but on a recent Air China flight to Shanghai a passenger was arrested for slapping the behind of a flight attendant with a newspaper. He later told police that he wanted her to move so that he could get to his seat.

RIGHT: Be Aware
Flight Attendant Sam Ward told me that the best way for someone to get his attention is to be aware of what he's doing. Of course, it's okay to interrupt and make yourself known if it's an emergency situation.

WRONG: Misusing the Call Button
Sam says: The use of the call button is like nails on chalk board to FAs because it's abused. Use it when it's something urgent. Ringing the call button to have the flight attendants collect your trash will probably have you being told "I'll be right back," which in flight attendant speak means: "I'll be back in about a half hour with a trash bag." The flight attendants I spoke with concurred that it should be used for urgent situations (unless of course your flight attendants aren't doing their job and walking through the cabin checking up on everyone).

RIGHT: Be Polite
This might surprise you, but most passengers don't say please or thank you. Being polite and courteous to a flight attendant will net you everything you want, as quickly as possible. Cabin Crewmember Autumn Jensen stated "I would like to assume that people would like to be treated with respect, so I would like to be treated with the same respect. Please, thank you, may I, and other such phrases will never go out of style. As with anything in life, it's all about how you ask. Politeness will get you everywhere. Ian Funderburg agreed I always acknowledge when people politely make themselves known and let them know I will be there to help as soon as I am able to.

WRONG: Galley Invaders
Your seat is cramped, the aisle is narrow and the galley seems to be the only place where you can stand - that's okay, but don't over-extend your welcome (and please don't perform galley yoga: the art of bending and stretching right in the flight attendant's faces as they're eating or sitting). The galley is the flight attendant's work space, kitchen, sitting area and cafeteria. If it's a busy flight the flight attendants may be prepping drink orders, snacks and food for other passengers and your being there might be in the way and slow down the process. Going to the galley to request a beverage or a snack is okay, but be respectful of the work they're already doing, in other words, be patient, the requests they're fulfilling at the moment come before you.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next trip!  

Original article can be found here.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Van Gogh Museum ReOpens

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has reopened after a seven-month renovation. The museum kicked off with a new exhibition "Van Gogh at Work," an exhibition that shows the tortured artist's working methods right down to his paints, brushes and other tools. There is a self portrait in which the artist painted himself behind a canvas, brushes and palette in hand. On loan from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, are an actual palette and paints that Van Gogh used. They were preserved by Dr. Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, the physician who treated the artist in the final months before his 1890 suicide. 145 paintings and sketches are on display, almost double the museum's usual collection.

A highlight is the display of two versions of Van Gogh's famed yellow "Sunflowers," hung on either side of a green-dominated portrait he painted known as "La Berceuse." A surviving letter, written by Van Gogh, he indicated that he intended the paintings, which usually hang in three different museums, to be displayed that way. The museum displays a replica of part of the letter, which shows sketches of the three paintings in miniature. With the reopening of the museum, all three of the city's biggest art museums are open for the first time in years. The Rijksmuseum, or national museum, which houses national treasures and many of the greatest masterpieces of painters such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen, opened in April after an epic 10-year, top-to-bottom overhaul. The Van Gogh Museum receives a million visitors a year and is known for long lines, but it has now started a new Internet reservation system that aims to smooth the flow of traffic over the day.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent to book your next Europe vacation!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Los Angeles Airport to Get Major Overhaul

Original article by USA Today

Los Angeles International Airport is a step closer to major renovations that have some neighbors vowing to sue, after the City Council approved a $4.8 billion project Tuesday. The council's 10-3 vote OKs plans to move the northernmost runway about 260 feet closer to Westchester and Playa del Rey neighborhoods, according to City News Service.

Residents say they're skeptical of the airport's claims that the updated runway would more safely accommodate larger, modern planes. They say it's a ploy to draw more traffic to LAX rather than other regional airports. "There will be a lawsuit," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the district with affected residents. The council's other dissenting votes were cast by mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti and Dennis Zine, a candidate for city attorney in the May 21 election.

Project program director Diego Alvarez countered that the current airfield was built in the 1960s to accommodate planes that are half the size they are today, causing landing delays because flights use a "nonstandard" process to arrive at LAX. Officials say the landing process is safe but could be safer. The project also would create a transportation station near the airport for light rail, and connect passengers to terminals through an elevated people mover. The project, which has been in the works since 2006, would demolish Terminals 1, 2 and 3 at the airport, consolidate its rental car facility and make road improvements.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent to begin booking your next vacation!

Original article can be found here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

10 Tips for Traveling Abroad

Make the best of your international trip with these 10 tips:
1. Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond your return date, and make sure it is signed and the emergency information is filled in.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to get any required travel visas.

3. Make at least 2 copies of your passport. Bring one with you, but keep it separate from the original and leave one copy along with a copy of your itinerary with family or a friend at home.
4. Get travel insurance that includes medical benefits.

5. Familiarize yourself with local customs and laws of where you will be traveling.

6. Register with the U.S. Embassy or consulate before you leave, and also keep the number of the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate with you at all times.

7. Learn enough of the language to at least ask for directions or help.

8. Carry some of the local currency with you, but not too much. You never want to travel with very much cash on you.

9. Bring any prescription medications in their original containers in your carry-on bag.

10. Schedule a doctor appointment about 6 weeks prior to your trip to see if you need any vaccines.
Contact a Travel Professional today to start planning your next international trip!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

10 Best Places to Honeymoon

Planning your honeymoon, yet not sure where you should go? Below is a list of some of the most popular honeymoon destinations around the globe.

1. Traveling to Hawaii is only a five-hour flight from most U.S. West coast cities, but it feels very much like an exotic oasis far away. Some of the islands’ highlights include the year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches, and ample luxury resorts. Hawaii can be a great honeymoon spot for anyone who doesn’t have a passport and doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting one.

2. Jamaica is a couple’s paradise! Gorgeous beaches that go on for miles; clear, warm waters; quiet alcoves and beautiful waterfalls; lush vegetation; and many couples-only all-inclusive resorts make Jamaica a perfect honeymoon destination.

3. Tahiti is the quintessential exotic island paradise. Whether visiting the island of Tahiti, Bora Bora or Moorea, the beauty of these islands scream romance and relaxation. Over-water bungalows, tranquil white-sand beaches, clear blue waters, and excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities are yours when traveling to Tahiti.

4. Fiji is another tropical island paradise, and the natives are some of the friendliest people on earth. Although made up of 330 islands, many of its islands are still uninhabited, and most of the island resorts are on small, private, boat-in only islands. The beautiful white sand beaches of Fiji have warm turquoise waters, perfect for snorkeling or diving.

5. Mexico is a great honeymoon location for just about any couple who enjoys an easy lifestyle and plenty of sunshine. Head to the Yucatan (Cancun and Cozumel) for white-sand beaches and warm tropical waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming. The Mexican Riviera (Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan) features plentiful beaches, shopping, and accommodations for any budget. For an adventure rich in history, explore the Mayan Ruins, such as Chichen Itza and Tullum.

6. The lush, mountainous island of St. Lucia has tropical rainforests suitable for hiking, as well as abundant marine life for fantastic diving and deep-sea fishing. The soft, tropical air and tantalizing cuisine will make traveling to St. Lucia a vacation to remember.

7. The romantic islands of the Bahamas are suitable for just about any couple as it offers powder-soft sand beaches, crystal blue waters, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, five-star resorts, casinos and ample nightlife.

8. Italy is the top European honeymoon destination and is rich in history with myriad art galleries and museums. Head to Venice for a moonlit gondola ride, relax on the beaches of Positano, or cruise around the island of Capri. Italy is jam-packed with exciting activities for couples of all ages.

9. France, the romance capital of the world, offers travelers a new surprise around every corner. Between world-famous art museums, the French Riviera, and the sights of Paris, it’s a lovers’ paradise.

10. Antigua features powder-white beaches protected by beautiful coral reefs, which make for perfect conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving. Ample luxury resorts offer guests a variety of indulgences, perfect for newly weds.

Check Out Our Website for more honeymoon ideas, or contact a Professional Travel Agent today to get started planning your honeymoon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Richard Branson Launching New Indian Airline

Richard Branson, the billionaire founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd, has been keen on launching an airline in India since the early 2000s. A decade later, he hasn't given up on the Indian market, despite the various troubles in the fledgling domestic sector. "We are still considering setting up a domestic airline (in India) now that the laws have been changed; we still haven't decided for definite one way or the other...I think it will be a Virgin Group investment and it will obviously have an Indian partner. I think the type of airline we'd like to do is like we have in America or in Australia, which is quality domestic airlines,..."

The Virgin Group currently flies Mumbai to London and Delhi to London routes.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Airline Begins Charging Passengers by the Pound

Samoa Air is the world's first airline to charge passengers per pound, rather than per seat. The airline announced that they plan to start pricing tickets according to the weight of passengers and their bags.  Chris Langton, the chief executive of Samoa Air, said this is "the fairest way of traveling".  Apparently passengers will be weighed in at the check-in counter along with their bags. The airline flies smaller aircraft, just around the Islands of Samoa.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Statue of Liberty Opening but Ellis Island to Remain Closed

The National Parks Service has said that it will re-open the Statue of Liberty on July 4th.  However, they will most likely keep the Ellis Island Immigration Museum closed for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs through the rest of 2013. The Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island, and the Museum on Ellis Island have always been visited by the same tour boats. However, the Museum's Hurricane Sandy-related damage meant that its vast collection of artifacts had to be moved into storage while more extensive repairs are made.
The Parks Service said it will route tour boats from Battery Park for a quick stop at the island only for security processing. The museum will remain closed until all the necessary preparations can be made for artifacts to return to their climate-controlled environment in the museum.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carnival Announces Spending Multi Millions to Fix Older Ships

Carnival Cruise Line has realized that it must take steps to stop the power-outages and failures that have upset so many passengers recently. They have announced that they are now taking emergency measures to equip all their ships with back-up power sources. Carnival will spend tens of millions of dollars to immediately upgrade the electrical connections from one set of generators to another on its ships that are needing such improvements.
The newest ships built within the last few years have redundancy in their electrical generators, according to recent reports. Older ships may or may not have such back-up facilities. Older ships in the Carnival fleet will be equipped with substitute sources, or access to substitute sources via more powerful and protected power cables, as a result of the immediate expenditures that Carnival executives have promised. The initial steps of this process will take place starting next week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line Will Offer First Grammy Experience At Sea

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it has partnered with The Recording Academy to feature the first Grammy Experience at Sea onboard its newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, set to launch in February 2014. As part of the partnership, Norwegian Cruise Line has been named "Official Cruise Line Partner of the Grammy Awards." The companies will partner on the first Grammy-themed cruise that is scheduled to set sail in the fall of 2014.

The Grammy Experience will be located on Deck 8 on Norwegian Getaway and will feature artifacts chosen and curated by the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. In the evenings, the venue will feature live performances by past Grammy winners and nominees, among others. More details regarding the Grammy Experience theme cruise will be revealed in the coming months.

Contact a Cruise Specialist today to book your next Cruise Vacation

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Australia Giving Away Six "Best Jobs in the World"

Tourism Australia is reinventing Queensland's acclaimed campaign, in which Englishman Ben Southall scored a high-paying job as a caretaker of a tropical island in The Whitsundays. Tourism Australia is going to give away six "best jobs in the world" around the country as part of a $4 million youth tourism campaign that was launched in Cairns last week. Each of the jobs will showcase the best tourism attributes of each state and territory.

Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory's tourism boards chose not to be part of the campaign. Each of the jobs comes with a six month salary package worth $100,000, including living costs. Around 35,000 applications were received for first The Best Job in the World campaign in 2009, which achieved worldwide publicity and was hailed as "the best idea since Willy Wonka decided to hide golden tickets in chocolate bars". Tourism Australia said it was prepared for criticism that the idea for the new campaign was not original.

Contact an Australia Travel Specialist today to book your Australian Vacation!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

FAA Says 173 Control Towers are Closing

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the federal government will close down 173 small airport towers next month. The closures will affect small airports, many of them rural, where towers are manned by unionized contractors rather than FAA employees. The FAA oversees 250 contract towers. The FAA notified operators in a conference call on Tuesday of the closures. The contract program has been around for the last 30 years and during that time only three airports have been shut down.  Most of the employees are former FAA and military air-traffic controllers.