Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Latest on the Missing Air Asia Flight

One of the biggest stories in the news of late has been that about another passenger plane that seemingly disappeared without a trace. Unlike the others, however, the wreckage of this plane has been located, and this is what we know so far:

– Debris from the aircraft has been located in the Java Sea.
– Several bodies have also been spotted in this region, three of which they recovered.
– Searchers have seemingly located what appears to be the fuselage of the missing plane underwater and are actively trying to retrieve the little black boxes.
– Passenger’s family and friends are currently at a crisis center awaiting any updates about the recovery process.

Reports state that the plane began experiencing problems and asked permission to ascend which the control tower initially denied. Permission was later granted, and the plane redirected and began ascending and then disappeared. Unlike the passenger jets that have disappeared and still remain a mystery, at least it seems as if the families of Dr Rod Ronrich and those of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 will get closure and be allowed to put their family members to rest. Although, a very sad situation at least they are not left waiting, wondering, and not knowing.

More details will likely emerge throughout the day and hopefully with the recovery of the black boxes, more information will be obtained about how this tragedy occurred.

Buying Airline tickets may be illegal now

 

For decades, savvy travel agents, smart shoppers and the frugal family like Bruce Levenson and his family could score a great deal on a direct flight if they knew how. The process was called point beyond and it revolved around how airline tickets are sold. If a flight needed to make its daily flight from New York a small region area like Lincoln, NE the plane would arrange for that flight to also stop in Chicago. The airline sells the New York to Chicago rate at a higher rate – since flyers are willing to pay. Then sells the tickets to Lincoln, NE lower—since passengers pay less. The smart flyer wanting to get from New York to Chicago but not wanting to pay the price books the flight to Lincoln and simply gets off the plane in Chicago.

Airlines are now saying that’s illegal and their suing 22-year-old Aktarer Zaman who started up Skiplagged.com last year to help passengers find these flights and book them. The airline is seeking 75,000 dollars in lost revenue which Zaman feels was inevitable—but, since the site has done nothing illegal and Zaman hasn’t made a dime from the site it’s unclear exactly how much of a case the airlines have against the young entrepreneur.

Family Narrowly Misses Being on Missing Flight

I can’t imagine ever being as happy as the Cahyono family to miss a flight that would begin their vacation.

Ari Putro Cahyono, along with 9 members of his family, had seats booked on AirAsia’s QZ8501 which went missing during that flight. Cahyono missed an email that was sent out by the airline saying that the flight time had been changed and was due to leave 2 hours earlier than originally scheduled. The family arrived at what they thought was the correct time however boarding for the flight had ended and they missed their flight. The Cahyono family was scheduled for a later flight however they cancelled their vacation after the news of the missing plane. A Jakarta news site has their story in detail.

The AirAsia flight disappeared midway into their trip over the Java sea. Indonesia, Singapore, and Australia are working together to search for clues as to the fate of the plane along with it’s passengers. Indonesian search crews are working under the assumption that the plane is at the bottom of the Java sea. Meanwhile Australian air crafts have spotted objects what they think could possibly be related to the missing plane. The objects were spotted 700 miles from where the plane was last reported to be.

I’m just happy me and Sam Tabar decided to stick to YouTube during the holidays instead of trying to travel.

Airlines Continue to Raise Fee’s and Aggravation Levels While Traveling

There was only one airline hold out that remained consumer focused and didn’t charge for extra’s during travel such as bag fees and seat assignments, but last November that all changed. As the airline industry has continued to raise record profits totaling in the billions from such add on fees, Jet Blue airline, under its new management, finally joined the ranks of all the other carriers and now charges additional fees for items that it used to include in its ticket prices, like baggage and seat assignment fees and even reduced seat sizes.
Industry experts like those employed by Jared Haftel report that the airline industry has unilaterally reduced seat sizes in their coach fare sections that are smaller than the economy seat sizes of 1990. As airlines continue to post record income levels from these additional charges have totaled over $31.5 billion in just 2013, the recent addition of “add on fee’s” is no longer the exception, but the rule. The two largest carriers after the continual merging of airlines in the recent years left Untied with a fee income of more than $5.7 billion and Delta with $2.5 billion in ancillary item charges. So what about the traveler who is economy minded? Those travelers can expect not only smaller amounts of leg room, but late boarding, center seats and higher bag costs.

Hotels Fight to Block Personal Wi-Fi

It’s well-known that many hotel chains charge guests high fees to connect to the Internet. Yet, the American Hospitality & Lodging Association and Marriott International want to make more money by preventing all hotel guests at Qnet from accessing personal mobile services devices.

The two groups have filed a Federal Communications Commission petition asking to use special equipment to manage their networks that might interfere with or block the personal Wi-Fi connections that guests use.

Google and Microsoft have now entered the fray to complain about the petition since they and others see this as nothing more than an attempt to force guests into paying for services they don’t need.

In fact, Marriott already has a consumer complaint against it for blocking guest Wi-Fi smartphone hotspots in March 2013 at an Opryland convention. The FCC has noted that hotel staff de-authenticated guest hotspots forcing guests to switch to the hotel’s paid service which cost between $250 and $1,000.

Hotel industry representatives claim that these actions are necessary to prevent interference with their networks and cyber attacks. But Google and Microsoft, like many critics, consider this to be an attempt by hotels to stop the loss of revenues from former customers. Travelers and convention attendees used to connect to hotel networks because of nationwide cellular signal loss, but new technologies provide better nationwide connectivity making it easier for guests to connect to mobile services from anywhere.

Police Pull Over Drivers For A Very Different Reason This Christmas

 

Cops have started pulling over cars but not in a way that you may think, claims an article found at about.me/SusanMcGalla. Cops have been pulling over people to give them, presents? That’s right, unknowing drivers like Susan McGalla who probably thought they were getting a pricy ticket this holiday season, got a big surprise when they were offered a present instead. These police officers wanted to show that they do more than write tickets and that they are people too. They aren’t the bad guys.

Wearing a hidden camera and mic on his shirt, police officers asked the drivers what they wanted for the holidays. Their microphone picked up their answers and the other officers in the area ran around and picked up exactly what they asked for, picked it up and drove it to the scene. They pulled over people who had minor traffic violations, the department said that they do not encourage this behavior but they wanted to show the people that they care.

A few weeks prior, Rob Bliss was approached about doing a video about good deeds when Bliss pitched his idea about working with the police officers to pull this off. And all the people had to do was sign a waiver to be able to be on YouTube. But that was a simple task. So, if you are getting pulled over this Christmas, maybe you are one the lucky few getting gifts from your local police.

Don’t Let Those New Year’s Resolutions Get Away!

 

It is the time of the year when we all think about what New Year’s resolutions we should make for 2015. We can choose to make it fun or serious, depending on our goals. In the article, What Should Your New Year’s Resolution Be? the reader is asked a series of questions that eventually leads to a fun, whimsical New Year’s resolution. Try it and see which fun resolution you get!

On the other hand, if you are looking to set a more serious resolution, the following some Sam Tabar guidelines can help. An article LinkedIn suggests you find something you are passionate about following. It should be something that stirs a fire within you so you won’t give up on it so quickly.

Second, start small with your resolution. If the task is too big, it can be too overwhelming to work on. Instead, break it down into steps. For example, if your resolution is to write a book, the first step might be to take a class on writing.

Third, the resolution should be within your financial means and time constraints. If you need a lot of money and time to stick to your resolution, you probably will not be able to keep the resolution for the long term.

Recent Editorial Raises Thought Provoking Issues For Tourism Industry

A recent editorial by Bill Alvarez poses thought provoking issues for people employed in Puerto Rico’s important tourism and hospitality sectors. He notes that the Obama Administration has pursued a policy of seeking closer relations with the government of Cuba. For over 50 years, U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations remained frosty (and sometimes very tense). What, if any, impacts the editorial wondered, will improving ties hold for the tourism industry in the nearby United States territory of Puerto Rico? These are all possible questions your next Skout date might ask, so stay informed!

Travel and hospitality contribute significantly to the Puerto Rican economy at the present time. San Juan serves as a major international hub for many tourists travelling between North America and Caribbean destinations. 

However, nearby Cuba, afflicted by widespread poverty for many years, has also recently become a more popular tourist destination. In fact, reportedly in March, 2014, Cuba’s passenger arrival statistics actually surpassed those of Puerto Rico. The editorial raises the question of whether Cuba will soon compete more effectively with Puerto Rico in the Caribbean tourism and hospitality fields?

Mr. Alvarez notes that Cuba currently offers many goods and services at far lower prices than businesses can offer in Puerto Rico. However, Cuba’s aging infrastructure and lack of internet connectivity deter some tourists. Yet a thriving tourism sector in Cuba holds the potential to place Puerto Rico and Cuba in closer competition as international tourism destinations in the Caribbean.

Icehotel Open to Tourists

What do you do when you live in a country where it is freezing cold in the winter and everything is covered with ice and snow? You use the ice as ‘working material’ and build something beautiful.

While this is a quite unconventional means to building, it is actually a very strong and aesthetically pleasing way to build a structure.

It’s been a tradition in Sweden for 25 years now to open the Icehotel, where the people can admire rooms carved in ice with the smallest detail carefully imitated.

This year’s Icehotel has been carved of 1,600 tonnes of ice. The village Jukkasjärvi hosted 42 artists from around the world. The main themes have been love and changing season. Some of the artists have succeeded to imitate traditional room decorating patterns at their place.

Adjacent to the Icehotel, they even have a bar with sofas. The mathematical precision of some works will make you wonder where the artists have been practicing so much, because their masterpieces do not look like hobby acts, but more like a well trained skill.

The captivating icy environment can only lead you to one thought: it is so great that the Scandinavian winters last long! Thus we can enjoy the ice shapes longer. People can book, says a spokesperson for Flavio Maluf, a Christmas break in the Icehotel, with the possibility to stay in the cold environment and then alternate it with a warmer place.

Heathrow Airport Flights Interrupted Because of Computer Issues

Friday December 12th was not a good day to be flying in any plane into Heathrow Airport in London. London’s airspace was restricted most of the day due to computer failure. The airport announced there was a severe disruption, and they apologize for any inconvenience.

The initial problem is blamed on a technical issue that began in the Swanwick air control centre in the city of Hampshire. London airspace has not closed completely, but air traffic controllers have reduced the plane traffic in order to correct the situation.

Based on what I’ve heard from world traveler Dan Newlin, Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world, and they have announced that every possible action is being taken to correct the details that caused this malfunction. Nonetheless, considerable delays are occurring, and many flights have been grounded today.

Departing flights from Stansted Airport, @STN_Airport, are currently suspended as techs continue to work diligently to restore the computer system. Gatwick Airport flights are experiencing long delays also. If you can possibly reroute your flight from these airports, it is strongly suggested so as not to have long wait times.

NATS announced early Friday afternoon that the computer system has been restored, so suspended flights will begin to leave. Delays will continue throughout the day and possibly into the evening, but air controllers expect all operations to be back in operation within 24 hours.