July 2011

This weekend we look at the slowdown of weddings in Vegas, jousting in Sulmona in the Abruzzo in Italy and, finally, the amount of vacation that Europeans take each year.

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For years, I have used the price of a Big Mac at McDonald’s as my benchmark for well-adjusted currency rates. I have always thought that if the price of a Big Mac was the same in the U.S. and in a foreign country that the exchange rates were more or less OK. If It cost more, there was probably a bad exchange and if it cost less, I’d be planning another trip.

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Sen. Rockerfeller (D-WV) and Sen. Cantwell (D-WA) have sent a letter to the leaders of America’s airlines asking them pointedly, how much money are they making from their absorbtion of monies that were formerly going to FAA taxes.

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I have heard stories of hotel guests being offered freebies like meals or drinks to write a positive review. But, this is the first time I have heard about ads soliciting fake reviews.

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As I noted in my article about the current FAA bill extension, or rather the lack of such an extension, the U.S. government is losing almost $30 million a day because Sen. Rockerfeller’s is upset with the process that the House of Representatives used in adding some minor changes to the Essential Air Service law.

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ATMs can inflict a lot of unnecessary pain on travelers. There are widespread reports of ATMs reclaiming money if it isn’t taken quickly enough. Sometimes, the funds are credited back to a customer’s account, sometimes not. And the fees? Outrageous!

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JetBlue introduces unlimited travel BluePass, more info on Air France mid-Atlantic crash, Boeing says re-engined 737 is ‘low risk’

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Here is the official IRS FAQ page regarding the Lapse of Air Transportation Excise Taxes after July 22, 2011. The Consumer Travel Alliance has sent the IRS a request for the proper procedures for claiming the excise taxes and domestic segment fees for flights taken during this period when no taxes are due.

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The FAA bill extension was not passed last week. It has meant that the government cannot collect something like $200 million in taxes and surcharges every week. The FAA funding mandate expired last Friday night (Aug. 22) and since then it is estimated that the government has already lost $150 million.

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After I got out of the Army, I worked in Italy and Germany. The Italians seemed to take a vacation every day avoiding stress. But the Germans worked hard every day, except during vacation; then they worked at relaxing. My German friends had a saying, “A three-week vacation is perfect. You have one week to […]

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