July 2008

Last week an explosion tore a hole in the side of a Qantas 747 over the Pacific. Yesterday a Cathay Pacific flight descending into Vancouver is reported to have lost a fuselage panel. In both cases, the aircraft and passengers are safe. These are high profile cases, but what about the toilet that doesn’t function, the seat that doesn’t recline and reading lights that don’t work. They speak volumes about attention to detail.

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I’ve never been one who enjoys taking packaged tours. It keeps you confined and in your comfort element and you end up spending time with other Westerners. Since it’s been a few years since my last real “adventure”, I started to plan a trip across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

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Road warriors can attest, too many nights away from home can really take its toll on a traveler. Once you spend more than a week or so in a hotel room, you start to get antsy. Amy Bradley-Hole passes along some extended-stay survival tips that have helped her over the years.

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Today’s sponsors

by Chris Jernigan on July 30, 2008

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British Airways and Iberia are talking merger. The two airlines plan to spend several months to discuss the terms. If it happens, the new entity would become the world’s third-biggest airline, behind Air France-KLM and Lufthansa.

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Though we have written about the philosophical reasons for opening our transportation watchlist so that people can find out why they have been placed on the list, the process is a pain in the a**. Everyone seems to be passing the buck. The system needs fixin’ — now. Congress is finally getting rattled.

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With the increase in airfares, coming airline capacity cuts and high-priced gasoline, it seemed only a matter of time that hotel rates would fall or at least level off to make lodging more affordable for both business and leisure travelers. Over the first half of the year, hotel prices halted their double digit upswing.

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By now we are all used to the Internet scams involving Nigerian princes and various other ways to separate people from their money, from their personal information or simply send a virus to infect computers and steal data.

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When on the way to a meeting with an important client and flying on one of Emirates’ new A380s, first class passengers who want to arrive refreshed need not worry. The superjumbo now comes equipped with a shower for first class passengers.

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As with most things put into law, regulations often fall short of their intended mission. Once written out in black and white, rules can remove any sort of wiggle room for compassion and human decision-making. Published rules have their consequences for both the enforcer and those whom they are written to protect.

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