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AARP Members Get 10% Off and Free Wi-Fi at Motel 6

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/03/2013, 4:30 PM

It's not much, but it's something. Motel 6 announced today a partnership with AARP. Now the group's 37 million members will be entitled to a discount of 10%, plus free Wi-Fi, which usually is charged at $3 a day.  Based on a $37 room in suburban St. Louis, a typical pricing example, that combined deal, including Internet, would bring the cost from $40 to about $33. So that dead-cheap motel...

Car Rentals Through Firefly, a New Brand, are Dramatically Cheaper than Others, So What's the Catch?

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/03/2013, 4:00 PM

Firefly, a discount car rental brand, begins arriving at American airports this month. You might think it's a new competitor. As it turns out, everything about it is older than you think. Hertz created Firefly, a lower-priced offshoot, in Europe last spring, in part to fill the price gap that was left when it sold off the Advantage car rental brand. Now there are 40-odd locations there, in...

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 ...

Offended by Political TV in Your Hotel Lobby? Your Hotel Manager Chose The Channel

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/29/2013, 5:00 PM

Hotel companies spend millions of dollars creating warm-and-fuzzy feelings about their brands and crafting the sensation that a stay there will make customers feel welcome and comfortable. Good hospitality is all about making someone feel at home. Yet the instant you walk into many hotels, the jagged tones of discord are thrust in your face. Given the fevered level of partisan rhetoric pol...

Offended by Political TV in Your Hotel Lobby? Your Hotel Manager Chose The Channel

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/29/2013, 5:00 PM

Hotel companies spend millions of dollars creating warm-and-fuzzy feelings about their brands and crafting the sensation that a stay there will make customers feel welcome and comfortable. Good hospitality is all about making someone feel at home. Yet the instant you walk into many hotels, the jagged tones of discord are thrust in your face. Given the fevered level of partisan rhetoric pol...

New Kiosks Cut Border Control Waits By a Third, But Your Airport Must Ask for Them

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/28/2013, 8:30 PM

In June, Chicago's O'Hare installed 32 kiosks that scan documents for incoming passengers. Right away, despite the fact summer travel was at its peak, wait times were chopped by 33%. The technology is called Automated Passport Control, or APC, and it's the latest effort of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to use technology to cut paperwork and frustration. O'Hare is the first American ai...

Another Cruise Line Extinguishes Smoking on Stateroom Balconies, and Good Riddance

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/15/2013, 5:45 PM

USA Today reports that Disney is the latest cruise line to ban smoking on its stateroom balconies, joining Celebrity, Princess, Oceania, and Crystal. I'm all for the ban. Not because it's not very "Disney" (Walt himself was rarely seen without an unfiltered Lucky Strike in his hand) but because it's dangerous and rude. Every cruise ship's lifeboat drill contains a captain's warning not to ...

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...

The Truth is Out: Airline Mergers Do Indeed Result in Higher Prices

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/14/2013, 3:45 PM

If you weren't sure where to come down on the airline merger debate, a position is becoming clearer. Yesterday the Department of Justice put its own foot down on the union of American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The DOJ hasn't blocked an airline merger since 2001, but something broke. It has had enough. This may be why: The AP's Scott Mayerowitz reports that airfares have gone up, even when...

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...

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