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Economizing, Six Flags in New Jersey To Create World's Tallest Drop Out of an Existing Ride

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/29/2013, 5:30 PM

Six Flags has blazed an admirable path. Many observers were concerned that the amusement park chain would have a hard time getting back on top after emerging from bankruptcy, particularly given the public's appetite for a new big-ticket ride each year. But it has devised clever ways to economically satisfy America's hunger for big projects. Great Adventure, a Six Flags park midway between ...

Town in Namibia Confounds Tourists By Changing Its Name to Something You Won't Believe

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/14/2013, 4:45 PM

A few months, ago, a small fishing town on the extremely isolated Atlantic coast in southern Namibia spent $100,000 in local dollars to erect a huge Hollywood-style sign on the mountain above its streets. LUDERITZ, it proclaimed for tourists, many of them from Germany. It was all for naught. The president has renamed the town to something a little less colonial. Now it's called !nami?n...

Time to See Africa? Wildlife Experts Warn Elephants Will Be Gone in 15 Years

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/12/2013, 10:30 PM

A disturbing report today in Britain's Metro newspaper: The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has calculated that an elephant is poached every 15 minutes in Africa. With 36,000 dead in the past year alone, at the current kill rate, they'll all be dead in 15 years. The article quotes Dame Daphne Sheldrick, a charity head: "A world without elephants is hard to comprehend but it is a real po...

Carriers Large and Small Going Slower to Save on Fuel Costs

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/12/2013, 10:15 PM

It'll take you longer to get there now. Ryanair has instructed its pilots to stick to a 600mph speed limit, which will save the carrier on fuel costs but also make trips take longer. It's not just exploitative airlines like Ryanair—although it gets the bad press for it. JetBlue did the same thing in 2008 and saved $13.6 million. In 2011, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 quietly increased...

Universal Orlando Announces Harry Potter Festival Event for January: Tickets on Sale Aug. 22

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/12/2013, 9:45 PM

Universal Orlando has announced a three-day "Celebration of Harry Potter" fan event for January 24 to 26. Details are sketchy, but ticketholders are promised a few perks, including a "private evening reception held in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," Q&A sessions featuring "Harry Potter talent," and a wand masterclass imported from the Harry Potter Studio Tour outside London (it's cut...

Everything's Coming Up Rosen in Orlando: Now There's a Fifth Rosen Hotel on International Drive

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/12/2013, 9:30 PM

The Quality Inn International has long been one of the most reliable budget properties off International Drive in Orlando. Harris Rosen bought it back in 1974, and using it as a foundation, built an Orlando hotel empire that now numbers more than 6,300 guest rooms, from dead cheap to business-class luxury.  In a bid to solidify his personal brand name, he has finally gotten around to attac...

Maybe Alec Baldwin Was In the Wrong: There Seems to Be Solid Evidence That Cellphones and Other Hand-Held Devices Interfere with Airplane Navigation Systems

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/17/2013, 12:30 PM

The first sentences in a recent Bloomberg News article on cellphones on planes is chilling. "The regional airliner was climbing past 9,000 feet when its compasses went haywire, leading pilots several miles off course until a flight attendant persuaded a passenger in row 9 to switch off an Apple Iphone," the author states. Apparently, as soon as the phone was shut off, the navigation system sta...

Carry Less, Board First: American Airlines Revises Its Highly-Debatable Priority Boarding Policies Again

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 05/16/2013, 7:45 PM

  By Pauline Frommer Boarding a plane nowadays is like being caught in a Saturday Night Live skit. You patiently wait, as the "platinum" and the "double platinum" and the "elite this and that" passengers board, listening to announcement after announcement, swearing inwardly that there can't be another class before yours...and then there is. Well, it's about to get even more absurd....

Carry Less, Board First: American Airlines Revises Its Priority Policies Once Again

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/16/2013, 7:30 PM

Boarding a plane nowadays is like being caught in a Saturday Night Live skit. You patiently wait, as the "platinum" and the "double platinum" and the "elite this and that" passengers board, listening to announcement after announcement, swearing inwardly that there can't be another class before yours...and then there is. Well, it's about to get even more absurd. American Airlines today anno...

New York City Subway Stations Get Tricky Free Wi-Fi

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/14/2013, 2:00 PM

After years of waiting, 36 stations in the New York City subway system, including the stations most popular with tourists (Times Square, Rockefeller Center) have been equipped with free wi-fi and voice calling. Trains themselves are not equipped, so visitors will need to conduct their business on the platforms and in the stations. We spent the past few weeks testing it out. The system is n...

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