October 2007

With the U.S. greenback now on life support compared to the euro and the Canadian dollar, what’s an international traveler to do? That’s easy: Head south to Latin America. Tim Leffel shows you where the battered dollar can still act tough.

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The U.S. government pressured airlines on Monday to cooperate with efforts to reduce delays at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport by ensuring it can impose schedule cuts if carriers fail to act voluntarily.

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Who’s the boss?

by James Wysong on October 23, 2007

Many flight attendants dream of meeting their CEO on a flight and giving him a piece of their mind about pay cuts, lost pensions and miserable work conditions. But what really happens when the CEO turns up on the plane? James Wysong tells the story and, in honor of National Boss Day, offers some hardball advice to airline CEOs everywhere.

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Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized.

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IPods go cruising

by Anita Dunham-Potter on October 22, 2007

What’s the latest amenity on cruise ships? No, it’s not Asian spa treatments and it’s not Wi-Fi. It’s iPods. A growing number of cruise lines are now loaning out iPods, fully stocked with music, and offering tours and shipboard information as podcasts. Anita Dunham-Potter says the pocket-sized digital music phenomenon is a big hit with cruise travelers.

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Thin walls, loud neighbors, partiers and construction banging have ticked off almost anyone who has stayed in a hotel. Noise was the top complaint (ahead of room cleanliness) in the annual North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Survey of 47,634 travelers recently released by J.D. Power and Associates.

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No business, except maybe politics, is as two-faced as travel. There’s one set of rules for us, the customers. And there’s another set for them: the airlines, car rental companies, hotels and travel agencies. Christopher Elliott says it’s time we fought back.

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Security screeners at two of the nation’s busiest airports failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers in more than 60% of tests last year.

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Hotels.com confirms a rate of $140 a night at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort in Panama for Donna Katos, but when she checks in, the resort doesn’t have a reservation for her and insists she pay nearly double her rate. She pays, hoping to get things sorted out when she returns to the States, but things aren’t getting sorted out. Is she out of luck?

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