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Hawaii

Meet Kamapua'a, Hawaii's surfing pig

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff February 14, 2014 10:23 AM

Here is a surfing pig in Hawaii. No further commentary needed.

On video, dolphin gives birth to calf in Hawaii

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff September 26, 2012 08:26 AM

By Oskar Garcia, Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) — A 12-year-old dolphin at a Hawaii resort has given birth to a female calf that seems to instantly recognize her mother in a video of the birth posted online.

Footage of last week’s birth on the Big Island shows the baby dolphin’s tail moments before she emerges from her mother. Once she is born, she shoots up to the water’s surface to take her first breath, then quickly swims alongside her mother.

The birth occurred in a manmade lagoon at Dolphin Quest Hawaii at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, where visitors can touch and swim with the marine mammals.

Resort officials will monitor the baby around the clock for now, as its first 30 days of life are its most critical in terms of survival, said Julie Rocho-Levine, manager of marine animals for Dolphin Quest. Trainers will closely note when the baby nurses, among other things, she told The Associated Press on Monday.

Officials say it’s the first calf for the mother, Keo.

‘‘I'm a mom myself, so I feel like I was able to appreciate her just calm, relaxed nature throughout the whole entire situation,’’ said Rocho-Levine, who was there for the birth.

‘‘It seemed as though she (Keo) was seeking out that human companionship and finding comfort in the people she knows and spends her days with,’’ she said.

Keo was calm enough to allow veterinarians to perform an ultrasound during labor.

Dolphin Quest officials plan to wait to name the baby until after its first month of life.

The rate of survival for babies of first-time mother dolphins in the wild is about 50 percent, Rocho-Levine said. But that rate is much higher for dolphins born with access to top-notch care from humans, she said.

Marilee Menard, executive director of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, said 70 percent of the dolphins in accredited facilities in North America were born in a zoo or aquarium.

___

Associated Press writer Jennifer Sinco Kelleher contributed to this report.

Safest rental cars

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor March 29, 2011 11:16 AM

When we buy cars, most of us consider the relative safety ratings of models but few of us do when choosing a rental car. Perhaps we should. USA Today has looked closely at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety figures in an attempt to make the task easier.

The good news is that more than 95 percent of 167 different vehicles in rental fleets are rated "good'' in head-on collisions, the most frequent type of fatal crash. It turns out that there is, however, a good bit of difference in how cars do in side and rear wrecks and rollovers.

USA Today reports that a half dozen 2011 vehicles and one 2010 vehicle had "poor" side-impact crash ratings: Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Volkswagen's New Beetle, two-door Jeep Wrangler, GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado with a crew cab, and 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser. In rear-crash ratings, two 2011 vehicles — Cadillac STS and Lexus HS hybrid manufactured before 2010 — and three 2010 vehicles — Chrysler PT Cruiser, Infiniti M35, and Hummer H3 — got slapped with poor ratings.

The 2011 cars that earned top overall safety ratings include: Ford Fiesta, Honda Civic, the Mitsubishi Lancer, and the Subaru Impreza among the smaller cars; Ford Fusion, the Chrysler 200 and the Volkswagen Jetta for the midsize vehicles; and Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, and Buick Regal.

Want more details? Here's a chart.

Luggage relief in Hawaii

Posted by Anne Fitzgerald, Globe Travel Editor March 30, 2010 09:12 AM

 

Marriott_Waikoloa_3_Lanai_at_Sunset.jpgTo offset airline fees, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa on Hawaii's Big Island has launched a Bags Stay Free deal, which credits guests up to $25 per bag (two maximum) during their stay.

 Use your credit at the hotel's Kona Coffee Shoppe, Hawaii Calls Restaurant and Lounge, or regular luau event. Or put it toward your room rate, taxes, parking, or Internet fees. Think about it while you soak in one of three outdoor pools overlooking Anaeho'omalu Bay.

Rates, which are good through Dec. 24, start at $199 per room for a garden view, $274 for an ocean view, based on a two-night minimum. You must have a valid airline baggage receipt at check-in and quote promotional code L9Z when booking your accommodations. 808-886-6789, http://www.waikoloa marriott.com.

 Photo courtesy of Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort and Spa

 Posted by Kari Bodnarchuk

Avis, Budget to ban smoking in cars

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor September 15, 2009 07:56 AM

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First it was planes and trains and now it's automobiles, too. Avis and Budget are banning smoking in their cars, starting Oct. 1.

The car rental companies told USA Today that they will impose a cleaning fee of as much as $200 on customers who violate the rule. The firms also noted that they would forbid their own employees from smoking in the cars.

For me, this is great news. I hate getting into a rental that smells like smoke. And apparently I'm not the only one. John Barrows, a spokesman for the Avis Budget Group, the parent company, told USA Today that "the No. 1 request we get is for a smoke-free car.''

This puts Avis and Budget in front of the pack on this issue. Other major competitors either do not have an across-the-board ban or simply allow customers to request smoke-free but don't guarantee it.

Domestic airlines, buses, and Amtrak have had severe restrictions or bans on smoking since the early 1990s.

Photo by iStockphoto

JetBlue springs post-Labor Day sale

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor September 8, 2009 02:14 PM

JetBlue has just launched a sale, with fares as low as $29 each way. Travel must be booked before Sept. 11; trips need to be completed by Dec. 16.; and sale fares require up to a 7-day advance purchase.

The Thanksgiving holiday period is blacked out and it will come as no surprise that "advertised fares are most often found on midweek travel dates.''

Here's a quick look at the advertised one-way prices from Logan: to Baltimore is $39; Washington Dulles $49; Charlotte, N.C. $69; and LA $109.

And the rest of the fine print can be found here.

On-time rates for airlines best in 6 years

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor September 8, 2009 12:32 PM


Call this the upside of trimming flight schedules. The on-time rate for US airlines in July was the best it's been in six years.

In fact, on-time rates in the first seven months of the year have been at their highest levels in six years, owing in part to the fact that struggling carriers have been cutting flights to save money amid the recession and falling demand.

This from Bloomberg News:

The 77.6 percent on-time rate for the month compares with 75.7 percent for the same month in 2008 and was the best result for the industry since 79.7 percent in 2003, the department said in a report released in Washington.

Which airline was best? Hawaiian Airlines at 93.6 percent, followed by Alaska Air at 87.2 percent. And the worst? Delta’s Comair unit with 63.6, followed by SkyWest’s Atlantic Southeast unit at 68.3 percent and AirTran at 69.8 percent.

An interesting bit: The most frequently delayed flights were Northwest Airlines 1266 from Boston to Tampa and Northwest flight 1154 from West Palm Beach to Boston, both of which were tardy 96.77 percent of the time.


Airlines looking to nudge fares up

Posted by guest June 25, 2009 12:34 PM

Forewarned is forearmed. Recent reports suggest that problems for the airline industry may be near bottoming out, and with the the seasonal uptick of air travel it looks like carriers are trying to may some hay. Bloomberg, citing numbers from Farecompare.com, is reporting that the major carriers may be trying to make another move to raise fares.

American Airlines and United Airlines raised most domestic fares by as much as $20 for a round trip, the second increase in as many weeks, as they try to take advantage of peak U.S. summer travel season demand.

AMR Corp.’s American boosted prices by $10 to $20 on most U.S. routes yesterday, and UAL Corp.’s United matched the move, ticket-research firm FareCompare.com said in an e-mail. Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. led carriers in a $20 round trip increase in the second week of June.

Two successful fare increases in a month would support an International Air Transport Association report today that the slump in global airline travel may have reached a “floor” following a 9.3 percent decline in passenger traffic last month. Airlines have slashed prices to win customers in the recession.

“We may have hit bottom, but we are a long way from recovery,” IATA Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement. “This crisis is the worst we have ever seen.”

Airlines rushing to WiFi

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor May 12, 2009 02:57 PM

The wireless Internet battle in the sky is quickly escalating to a dogfight.
AirTran Airways said yesterday morning that it plans to offer in-flight, wireless, Internet access on all 136 of its aircraft by midsummer. Virgin America currently has the service on 24 of its 28 planes, and is on schedule have the rest ready to go by Memorial Day.
On Monday, Delta Air Lines, which became the world’s largest carrier after its merger last year with Northwest Airlines, announced that it has WiFi on 139 planes, or about half of its mainline domestic fleet, and will have the rest finished by September. The carrier also expects to complete outfitting all 200 jets in Northwest’s domestic fleet next year.
And American, which has already equipped all its transcontinental aircraft, says it will have a total of 165 planes WiFi-ready by the end of 2009, with a goal of having 318, or nearly half its fleet, finished over the next few years.
Facing tough competition, the nation's airlines are viewing WiFi, which they once saw as merely a desirable amenity, increasingly as a necessary feature.
“Going online at 35,000 feet isn't a ‘nice to have,’ ’’ said Henry H. Harteveldt, principal airline analyst for Forrester Research Inc. “In today's tough business climate, in-flight Wi-Fi is as essential as the beverage cart. Business people need to stay in touch with their clients and colleagues, as well as stay on top of the volatile business environment. Leisure travelers appreciate WiFi in-flight because they can stay in touch with family and friends, plan their journeys, and entertain themselves.’’
While many carriers are aggressively adopting WiFi, others are at the very least kicking the tires. Southwest Airlines, which carries more passengers than any other US airline, is testing the service on four planes and is looking at the prospects for expansion. JetBlue hopes to have 20 planes outfitted this year for a stripped-down service that would allow e-mail and instant-messaging.
For the most part, all the services work the same. Passengers pay a fee, generally about $8 to $13 depending on the length of the flight, and the service is supplied by a contractor, the largest being Aircell LLC of Itasca, Ill., under its Gogo Inflight Internet brand.
The airlines, which have been garnering increasing amounts of revenue from the assorted fees they’ve launched in the past couple years, expect the service will be not just popular but profitable.
“On a coast-to-coast weekday flight, airlines tell me that it's not uncommon to sometimes have two dozen or more passengers online simultaneously,’’ Harteveldt said. “That could turn into a nice revenue stream long-term for airlines as the product becomes more widely available and more passengers begin using it.’’
But analysts say that the service also eventually could yield significant savings as it may let airlines remove their in-flight entertainment systems, leaving passengers to access the many media options available online. Getting rid of the systems would reduce the weight of planes, making them more fuel efficient, and free the carriers from having to pay for licensing entertainment content.


American to let frequent flyers use miles for one-ways

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor May 11, 2009 10:14 AM

Good morning, travelers.
For the first time, American plans to let frequent fliers use their miles to book one-way flights for half the miles of a round-trip. The carrier will also let customers redeem miles for first-class seats one way and use fewer miles for a coach seat on the return, according to the Associated Press.


Officials at American, which developed the first frequent-flier program nearly three decades ago, plan to announce the changes Monday and put them into effect shortly.
They say American is the first major US airline to offer a one-way award ticket at half miles. It's hard to know how many people would use miles for a one-way trip -- parents driving a child to college and flying home might -- and American officials didn't offer any estimates.

Deal: Marriott's Military Golf Program

Posted by Anne Fitzgerald, Globe Travel Editor May 11, 2009 08:43 AM

Marriott is offering active, reserve, and military personnel a deal at 26 Marriott golf courses across the country. With Fairway Furloughs, members of the armed forces with a valid military ID card get discounted green fees/carts, ranging from $29-$69 after 3 p.m. any day of the week, year round. Tee times can be made up to three days in advance.

"In this country, we have hundreds of thousands of active, reserve, and retired military personnel who play golf, and we can't think of a better way to reward their unmatched dedication,'' said Bill Nault, vice president, Marriott Golf.

The complete list of participating courses includes: Camelback Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Desert Springs Golf Resort, Palm Desert, Calif.; Doral Golf Resort & Spa, Miami, Fla.; Grande Pines Golf Club, Orlando, Fla.; Grande Vista Golf Club, Orlando, Fla.; Hawk's Landing Golf Club, Orlando, Fla.; Renaissance Vinoy Resort, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Shadow Ridge Golf Club, Palm Desert, Calif.; Starr Pass Golf Club, Tucson, Ariz.; The Rookery at Marco, Naples, Fla.; Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, Ariz.; Cattails Golf Club, Kingsport, Tenn.; Griffin Gate Golf Club, Lexington, Ky.; Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, Lihue, Hawaii; Stone Mountain Golf Club, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Crane's Landing Golf Club, Lincolnshire, Ill.; Westfields Golf Club, Clifton, Va.; and Willow Crest Golf Club, Oak Brook, Ill.

For more information on the program, visit here.


Stuck on tarmac? Uncle Sam says, ' Too bad'

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor November 12, 2008 01:58 PM

For years, travelers have been screaming for setting limits on how long airlines can leave hapless passengers sitting on tarmacs during flight delays and even the US Department of Transportation's inspector general last fall recommended some kind of rule.
But the best a federal task force could do yesterday was to approve voluntary guidelines for airlines and airports. It failed to come up with any hard rules on how long airlines can keep you shut up in planes before being allowed to exit.
It's hard to find anyone who flies even semiregularly who doesn't have a story of being stranded on the tarmac for hours with no recourse.
(Full disclosure: I've been stuck twice. Both times were in California, once on an American flight and once with United, for three and nearly six hours, respectively, after the jets I was on appeared to be experiencing mechanical problems.)
Passenger rights advocates told the Associated Press that representatives of the airlines leaned on other task force members to reject time limits, saying they wanted the flexibility to design their own response plans.
Right. And what has kept them from doing so thus far on their own?
The DOT says it is working on rules to require airlines and airports to have contingency plans and include a time limit. But who knows when and if that will happen?
Well, you ask, what recommendations did the task force come up with?
They suggest the airlines update you on progress every 15 minutes; provide a secure room for passengers on overseas flight so they won't have to go back through security; provide refreshments and entertainment when practical; and try to keep the restroom clean.
The 36-member task force was created in December by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and was dominated by airline industry and airport representatives.
OK, Barack, I know you already have one or two other things on your plate but let's hope that you will be able to do a bit better by us. Yes, you can.

Pay to avoid plane seats near babies?

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor November 11, 2008 10:48 AM

crying%20baby.jpg

Westjet, the Canadian discount airline that plans to partner with Southwest, sent out a questionnaire to consumers to gauge their willingness to pay for a menu of services -- or to save money forgoing them.

One of the questions, first reported by Chris Elliott on his blog, involved whether passengers would favor shelling out $10 to not sit next to a parent with a baby.

The Westjet queries are revealing, I think. They don’t necessarily reflect what kinds of fees all the airlines will go for, but they suggest what kinds of things they all must be at least considering (or are already trying).

Besides the baby question, the carrier also asked whether travelers would consider paying $10 for:

  • Being among the first to get on or off planes
  • Quicker baggage delivery
  • Priority rebooking after flight cancellations
  • Complimentary meals/hotel accommodations for substantially delayed or canceled flights
  • In-flight Web access
  • Guaranteed space in the overhead bin
  • In-seat power
  • Premium snacks/meals
  • Freshly laundered pillow/blanket set that you may keep
  • Amenity kits with earplugs, eyeshades, and toiletries
  • Shorter waits to clear security checkpoints

The carrier also asked questions about which services travelers would be willing to give up in order to save $10 on flights of two to four hours. These included

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Traveling tedium be gone (or not)

Posted by Chris Murphy October 7, 2008 06:27 AM

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If you’re planning to go on a long plane ride but have a painfully short attention span, have I got a book for you. ‘‘747 Things to Do on a Plane’’ by Justin Cord Hayes gives you, yes, 747 things to do to make a long flight feel less tedious. Hayes’s ideas range from no-brainers (read the newspaper) to morbid (write your own obituary) to bizarre (draw tattoos on your arms). His section on making lists is thought-provoking and a possibly eye-opening use of time (list the top 10 happiest moments of your life or the top 10 vacations you’ve ever taken). He gets desperately snarky in the section on pranks. Sneaking into first class (then what?) is one thing, but belching the alphabet and kicking the back of someone’s seat? Not that anyone who knows how to spell air marshal would actually act like such a jerk on a crowded plane, but still. The book is better than a magazine, makes a great gag gift, the word puzzles included are clever, and you won’t mind if you leave it behind when you finally arrive at your destination.

American moving to a la carte pricing

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor October 6, 2008 10:20 AM

Amid high fuel prices and a soft economy, American is moving to a la carte pricing starting next year. The AP is reporting that American, which was the first (but not the last) carrier to start charging for a first checked bag, plans to embrace the kind of "unbundling'' model that Air Canada has been practicing for about five years.
This is the way it works at Air Canada: Consumers choose from one of four fare levels. AP says the top two classes of tickets, Latitude and Executive classes, "are fully refundable and come with priority check-in, food and other goodies included." Basic Tango class "requires extra fees for upgrades such as a food voucher, advance seat selection, flight changes and airport lounge access," AP writes. You can also save a few bucks by electing to forgo frequent flier miles or by not checking a bag (all Air Canada customers can check at least two bags free).
I spoke with Ned Raynolds, an American spokesman, about the changes. He said he couldn't discuss any details but said it was a necessary move to fill seats and remain competitive. He also pointed out that the notion of al la carte pricing was not entirely new. "Largely,'' he said. "we're already there.''
And it's true. For the most part, it appears that the changes will not be stark. If you're flying coach, you're already paying for things like a refundable fare, food, and airport lounge access. There could be some shifts -- here, I'm thinking of having to pay for seat selection.
So the bottom line? More nickel and diming. Sure. But I don't think on its face that this is a huge shift for most consumers. I think you can, however, safely argue that by codifying the system what this does is make clear that this new era of proliferating and escalating fees, of trying to find out what travelers value so are willing to pay a premium for is here to stay.

Southwest tops reliability ranking

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor October 2, 2008 12:14 PM

SWA_SFO_356.jpg
Discounters reign. The folks at Forbes.com have put together a ranking of the nation's 10 major airlines, and Southwest rose to the top. Continental was No. 2, JetBlue No. 3, and AirTran 4.
The top dogs were followed by Alaska, Northwest, American, and Delta. And bringing up the rear were United and US Airways.
Now you're probably wondering which factors Forbes.com considered. They looked at five year's worth of federal data on on-time arrivals, cancellations, complaints, and mishandled baggage, with heaviest weight given to delays and cancellations. They then also took into account consumer satisfaction by looking at J.D. Power rankings from 2005-2008 as well as the airlines' financial stability as measured by their asset-to-liability ratios.
I like this ranking because it confirms my own prejudices and experience. However, on-time arrival figures for August, which were just released today, suggest that this ranking has limits in predicting anyone's actual travel experience.
Of the Big 10, the airlines that did best were Northwest, Southwest, and US Airways, followed by Alaska, AirTran, Delta, Continental, United, and American, And the worst? JetBlue. Go figure.

Rent a $6 self-destructing DVD at airports

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor October 1, 2008 10:54 AM

Among the things I like best about JetBlue and Virgin America are their in-flight media offerings. But as I fly around I increasingly see travelers listening to their own iPods or MP3 players and watching films on portable players or laptops.
I guess the folks at Hudson News have noticed as well. The ubiquitous-in-airports Hudson chain in September started selling (renting, really) Flexplay self-destructing movie DVDs for $6 at most of its 350 newsstand locations.
Why self-destructing? The big advantage of this system is that you don't have to remember to return anything. Once you open your DVD's sealed pouch, a chemical process kicks in, which will allow you to watch the film as many times as you want for at least two days. After that, the quality degrades. Once the DVD is kicked, you recycle.
Each Hudson store will offer about two dozen DVD titles, refreshed with new films every week or two, according to Laura Samuels, a Hudson spokeswoman. Currently, Flexplay has licensing deals with Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment, and DreamWorks.
You can also order online from Flexplay and have discs mailed to you for $4.99, which includes shipping. Flexplay discs are also available at Staples.
The new Hudson/Flexplay system is convenient and "Mission Impossible'' cool, but it's not the only option for airport DVD rentals.

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Rising? Air fares have actually been falling

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor July 25, 2008 07:30 AM

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Time for a gut check. There was a story out Thursday morning about a government report showing that average domestic airfares rose 4.4 percent in the first quarter. No surprise, right?
But if you take a closer look at the Department of Transportation press release you see that the agency notes that from the first quarter of 1995 to the first quarter of 2008 average domestic itinerary fares rose 11.7 percent while inflation surged 41 percent.
Average fares include round-trip and one-way fares, taxes and fees and exclude abnormally high reported prices as well as freebie frequent-flier deals.
So I took their numbers, adjusted for inflation, graphed it out, and discovered that there's actually been a trend downwards -- a 20 percent drop from '95. Witness my handiwork above.
Surprising? Not really. Think about it. One of the first times I flew, in the mid-1980s, I did it on the budget-pioneer People Express, which basically priced itself out of existence. A round-trip, coast-to-coast ticket was about $200, which is a bit over $400 in today's dollars. About three weeks ago, I flew from Boston to Sacramento for a total of $465.
Some will want to quibble about details (Is the Department of Transportation Domestic Average Itinerary Fares the best way to gauge prices? And is the Consumer Price Index the best way to compare rates of inflation? Are first quarter prices the best period for comparing numbers), but apply your own life experience to this. Think about a flight you took about 10 years ago. Then plug those numbers in the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator. Not look around to see what that fare is now. And be fair.
Bottom line: Airfares are on the rise and for good reasons (in '95, a gallon of regular gas set you back $1.10-$1.20). But, historically speaking, they aren't that high. Yet. So let's turn down the volume on the kvetching.

A refresher on baggage rules: Clip and save

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor July 22, 2008 12:08 PM

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I was in an airport in Sacramento earlier this month, getting ready to board a flight back here. And for those who have not traveled in a while, let me make this clear: The airlines are deadly serious about new baggage rules, including size and weight. We're talking both checked and carry-on.
While checking in, there was a woman in front of me who had been told that her suitcase was about 5 pounds over and her options were either to make it lighter or pony up about $80. So she popped it open right there and started pulling out a travel iron, knick-knacks, various articles of clothing (I leave this to your vivid imagination). And got the bag down to fighting weight.
Similarly, I saw a man trying to carry on a questionable-sized suitcase who was forced to check it (and pay for a second bag).
Anyway, the Washington Post, compiled this list of the current rules and if you are planning soon it might be worthwhile printing, clipping, and saving on the fridge:

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How to avoid jet lag

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor July 16, 2008 12:00 PM

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I'll fess up: Jet lag does me in. I just got back from a quick trip to the Golden State. There's only a three-hour time difference, but it takes me about a week to get so I'm not still squinting quizzically through bloodshot eyes at the sun at 8:30 a.m. on the T.
I'm willing to try anything. Reader's Digest (I once had an English professor who likened the reading of digested material to the consumption of already digested material) has some tips. Most of them involve trying to get your body ready for the changes in advance; some focus on your general well-being; some are fabulously ridiculous. Here are a few (along with my own insights):
ACCLIMATE. If you’re going to be gone longer than a couple of days, begin acclimating your body to the new time zone by altering your eating schedule three days before your plane takes off -- cool, dinner at 3 sharp.
AVOID AIRLINE FOOD. See above. It seems if you're going to be tricking your body by eating closer to the new time zone you don't want at airline repast to mess up your schedule. Besides the food usually sucks anyway.
CHUG. Stay hydrated, but avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate you, mess up your internal clock, make you unpopular with the seatmate you have to climb over to get to the restroom, and exaggerate jet lag symptoms.
HIT THE LINGUINE. Or any other carb-dense food at dinner on the night before your flight. Recent research suggests carbs boost your ability to sleep — particularly when you fly westward. Wonder whether a Sam's summer ale would count. Carbs is carbs, right?
REFRIGERATE. Particularly if you need to sleep on the plane. I call this the suspended animation tip. Use earplugs to cut noise, an eyeshade to kill the light, and turn the air-conditioning valve on high. A lower temperature lowers your body’s core temperature and signals it’s time for sleep.
Here's the whole, unadulterated list.

United, US Airways joins American, to start charging for 1st checked bag

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor June 12, 2008 06:14 PM

Not a big surprise, but United and US Airways have decided to join rival American and start charging many customers $15 to check even one bag.
United, which said it was considering making the change when American announced its move last month, also plans to increase fees to check three or more bags, overweight luggage, or items that need special handling from $100 to $125 or from $200 to $250 depending on the item.
US Airways, which also plans to start charging domestic coach customers $2 for nonalcoholic drinks Aug. 1, detailed other cuts, including trimming its domestic schedule as much as 8 percent by year's end and axing 1,700 jobs.
The $25 fee that both carriers charge for a second checked bag will not change.
United's new policy will apply starting June 13 for passengers who buy seats for domestic travel and starting Aug. 18 for those headed to and from Canada, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Exempt will be travelers flying United First, United Business, and those who have premier status with either United for the Star Alliance. Here are more details.
US Airways' new baggage fee will apply to tickets booked on or after July 9 for domestic flights and those to and from Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The airline will exempt Dividend Miles Preferred members, First Class and Envoy passengers, Star Alliance Silver and Gold status members, military personnel on active duty, unaccompanied minors, and passengers checking assistive devices. Here are the details.
All this should come as no shock. Sit tight. There will be others

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Where younger travelers are going

Posted by Anne Fitzgerald, Globe Travel Editor May 19, 2008 06:55 AM

The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) has released these Top 10 rankings for US, North America, and International hot spots for student and youth travel from their annual member survey, which polls student and youth travel industry professionals on current and emerging trends:

Top 10 U.S. Destinations
1. Washington D.C.
2. New York City
3. Orlando
4. Chicago
5. Greater Boston
6. Historic Virginia
7. Southern California
8. Philadelphia Area
9. Baltimore/Annapolis
10. Hawaii

Top North America Destinations
1. Toronto
2. Montreal
3. Quebec City
4. Vancouver
5. Cancun & the Yucatan
6. Calgary
7. Edmonton
8. Ottawa
9. Oaxaca
10. Mexico City

Top 10 International Destinations
1. United Kingdom
2. France
3. Italy
4. Spain
5. Australia
6. Germany
7. Greece
8. Brazil
9. Peru
10. China

A deal is a deal is a deal

Posted by Chris Murphy May 6, 2008 07:57 AM

How refreshing to find a hotel "deal" that is actually a bargain! Shell Vacations Hospitality is offering family-friendly summer deals at some of its resorts in the US and Canada. Included are a $15 gas card (OK, that's not even half a tank these days, but at least it's something), room rates ranging from $68-$189 for guests staying four nights or more, and a gift pack of beach games for the kids. Packages are valid from June 2 until Sept. 5 and can only be booked online through Shell's website. Shell's resorts include:
Peacock Suites, Anaheim
Orange Tree Golf Resort, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Legacy Golf Resort, Phoenix
Starr Pass Golf Suites, Tucson
Desert Rose Resort, Las Vegas
Carriage Ridge Resort, Horseshoe Valley, Ontario
Mountainside Lodge, Whistler, British Columbia
Waikiki Marina Resort, Oahu
Kauai Coast Resort, Kauai

The 1st Annual Toilet Bowl: Boston vs. New York

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor April 29, 2008 12:59 PM

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Once again it's Us vs. Them. Beantown vs. The Big Apple. Final score? 667-142. We lose. Say it ain't so, Papi.
Actually, this isn't about baseball but restrooms in public places as measured by Imodium's Bathroom Finder, an admittedly unscientific, incomplete -- and potentially inaccurate -- yet for our purposes authoritative and informational source of Where to Go in America. (Thanks to Consumerist.com for the tip.)
OK, the battle of Us vs. Them is obviously unfair, they being not only much bigger but so full of it.
But let's see how we stack up against a handful of cities of our approximate size. At 142 we absolutely rock next to El Paso, Texas (94) and Milwaukee (134).
Sadly, though, we compare unfavorably with Seattle (247 -- but all that coffee those people drink...), Denver (200 -- I'm sure it's somehow related to that Mile High thing), and Washington (220 -- perhaps the only American city that could probably outdo New York in per capita generation, given the unfair advantage bestowed by Capitol Hill as well as the White House).
So we end up someplace in the middle. At least this time there's no Curse of the Bambino. Besides, who could wait 86 years?

Delta hikes fuel surcharge; 14th fare-hike attempt by airlines

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor April 29, 2008 10:21 AM


Fliers.jpg

If you're looking to fly this summer, maybe you'd better think about buying soon.
Delta and United have once again raised fuel surcharges, the second time in two weeks. This time the increase amounts to $10-$40 round-trip.
This increase pushes the domestic tote board figure for round-trip fuel surcharges to as much as $110 (!!) and the transatlantic figure to $230 (!!!).
Thanks to Rick Seaney at farecompare.com who has been keeping track and doing the math.
The latest hike comes a week after United pushed a similar one, which was joined by all the majors by Saturday.
And it was a week ago today that Delta CEO Richard Anderson said that US carriers would need to raise fares 15 percent-20-percent to offset rising fuel prices. They are most of the way there at this point so it would not be surprising to see a couple more increases heading our way.
Bear in mind, that these increases are not simply across the board. It's still possible to get a sale or a good deal on highly competitive routes. But this trend isn't going away any time soon.

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