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Time to Rethink Tropical Travel Plans for Summer? Federal Forecasters Issue Their Hurricane Predictions

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/23/2013, 10:30 PM

"This is your warning," said Kathryn Sullivan, administrator of the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And what a warning it is: today, the NOAA is prediced 13-20 named Atlantic Storms for the upcoming months. It's saying that 7 to 11 of those could become hurricanes, with 3 to 6 of those reaching 111 mph and higher (which are the worst categories of hurricanes). How sure...

Good Luck Chuck! Senator Schumer of New York Takes The Airlines To Task For Change Fees

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/21/2013, 12:30 PM

In 2012, the major American airlines made $2.6 billion in change fees. And that's quite enough, says Senator Chuck Schumer of New York State. On Sunday, the Senator called out Delta Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and American Airlines for their recent change fee hikes. "With the growth of other fees, flying has already become prohibitively expensive for many, and the airlines, a...

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 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...

Israel Unveils a Sweeping 18% Tourist Tax. Will the Additional Costs Deter Visitors?

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/16/2013, 7:15 PM

Israel is already the 8th most expensive country on the planet to visit, according to the World Economic Forum. But a new 18% tax on car rentals, hotel rooms, private guide services and guided tours could well bump the country up the list a place or three. The tax will take effect on June 1. Government officials have said it will go toward's lowering the country's deficit. Some 3.5 mil...

Cheaper Vacation Rentals and New Tours Are Being Offered in Europe as the Ongoing Recession There Forces Locals To Get Creative to Earn a Living

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/16/2013, 6:45 PM

Would you be interested in a guided tour that focussed on the excesses of Spain's construction bubble? Apparently the idea is not as nutty as it sounds. According to NBC News, the relatively new "Ruta del Despilfarro" or "route of wastefulness" tour in Valencia, offered by 5 out-of-work college professors and journalists in Valencia, has been a bona fide hit, with over 1000 visitors paying...

Lessons to Take Away From The Recent Pickpocket-Inspired Shutdown of the Louvre

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/11/2013, 1:15 PM

Last May, I hosted a tour of France for the listeners to my radio show. We had days of touring together, and days when we set off on our own. On one of the free days, a group within our group headed to Versailles. Though they came back raving about the grounds, and the hall of mirrors, they also had some serious negatives to report about the experience, on two topics: pickpockets and crowds. ...

Lessons to Take Away From The Recent Pickpocket-Inspired Shutdown of the Louvre

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/11/2013, 1:15 PM

Last May, I hosted a tour of France for the listeners to my radio show. We had days of touring together, and days when we set off on our own. On one of the free days, a group within our group headed to Versailles. Though they came back raving about the grounds, and the hall of mirrors, they also had some serious negatives to report about the experience, on two topics: pickpockets and crowds. ...

Lessons to Take Away From The Recent Pickpocket-Inspired Shutdown of the Louvre

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/11/2013, 1:15 PM

Last May, I hosted a tour of France for the listeners to my radio show. We had days of touring together, and days when we set off on our own. On one of the free days, a group within our group headed to Versailles. Though they came back raving about the grounds, and the hall of mirrors, they also had some serious negatives to report about the experience, on two topics: pickpockets and crowds. ...

Spirit Airlines Quietly Ditches Its 800 Number, Domestic Airfares Are Down to Many Popular Destinations, and More Airline News

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/11/2013, 1:15 PM

What's the difference between 800 and 801? The first is a toll-free call, and the second is an area code in Utah. Which does Spirit Airlines use for its reservations number? The one that has customers footing the bill, of course. I have to give thanks for that bit of intel to a Florida reader who alerted me the change. (I don't know when it happened). And you have to give chutzpah points t...

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