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Paid Reservations Now Required to Visit California's Muir Woods

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/30/2017, 12:00 AM

From Dubrovnik to Machu Picchu, popular tourist destinations around the world are devising new sign-up strategies to combat overcrowding caused by hordes of temporary visitors. The latest spot to add to the list, as Frommer's reported would happen back in 2015: Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, California, north of San Francisco.  Starting on January 16, 2018, each visitor who arrives...

One More Airline Adopts Basic Economy Pricing

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/31/2017, 9:45 PM

Monkey see, monkey do. The biggest airlines have now instituted new, bare-bones "basic economy" fares that strip passengers of the automatic right to checked bags or seat assignments unless they pay extra charges. Now Sun Country Airlines, a long-running Minneapolis-based airline that covers the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean, has jumped on board. Its pricing structure is even more com...

National Park Fees May Triple, Become Unaffordable

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/26/2017, 11:00 AM

Entrance fees at many of the country's most popular national parks could soon go way up. To address a backlog of maintenance needs and infrastructure improvements, the National Park Service has proposed increasing admission charges to $70 per vehicle at 16 sites, up from the current fee of $25 to $30 depending on the park. That would mean more than doubling—or, in the case of the $25 fee, almos...

Norwegian Cruise Line Drinks Package Now the Priciest at Sea

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/05/2017, 10:00 PM

Norwegian Cruise Line has raised the price of its Ultimate Beverage package, covering all alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks that a passenger consumes while on board the ship (except drinks priced higher than $15, which have to be purchased separately).   Up from a previous fee of $79 per day—and, as recently as 2014, $54 per day—the package now costs $89 per passenger, per day.  But with a "serv...

U.S. Airlines Are Making a Fortune from Checked Bag Fees

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/21/2017, 8:30 PM

Two recent government reports have underscored the huge revenue-generating power of checked bag fees at the airport. First, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study found that while unbundling airfares from services such as checking bags and priority boarding has indeed resulted in lower base fares, the new fees often more than make up the difference that customers think they're saving. ...

Boston's Logan Airport Might Charge You to Drop Off and Pick Up Passengers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/31/2017, 9:45 PM

A new fee could soon be put in place at Boston Logan International Airport—and drivers are not going to like it.  The airport has launched a study to look into charging people for bringing their private cars to the terminals in order to drop off or pick up passengers. These are ordinary drivers we're talking about, mind you—not those offering Uber or taxi services. The potential measure is onl...

Another Big Hotel Chain Makes Cancelling Costly

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 07/25/2017, 5:15 PM

In June, Marriott changed its rules about cancelling hotel reservations. Before then, customers usually could cancel a room all the way until the day of check-in, sometimes the day before, and suffer no penalty. But as of this summer, the new Marriott deadline is 48 hours in North America and Latin America. If you don't cancel your Marriott room at least two days before check-in, you must pay t...

Toll Proposed for San Francisco's Crooked Lombard Street

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/22/2017, 5:00 AM

A San Francisco city supervisor has proposed a toll for cars traveling on the city's famously crooked Lombard Street in order to ease the 600-foot thoroughfare's overwhelming congestion. About two million tourists visit the hilly zigzag each year, and the traffic can be maddening for residents, especially during the summer, when as many as 17,000 drivers and pedestrians come to Lombard Str...

Senator Promises to Fight New Airline Fees

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/25/2017, 5:00 AM

Following an example set earlier by United Airlines, American Airlines announced last week that use of overhead bins on flights will no longer be free for every passenger. A condition of the carriers' new "basic economy" fares is that customers who opt for those low rates will be allowed only one carry-on bag—and it has to fit underneath the seats. Under United's basic economy system, whic...

American Airlines Announces No-Frills Basic Economy Fares

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 01/19/2017, 5:00 AM

Joining other major carriers including Delta and United, American Airlines has announced that it too will soon begin offering low, no-frills "basic economy" fares on certain flights.  Customers can expect to start seeing the new rates—which will be cheaper than those for any other seats in the cabin—in February, when the company will introduce them in 10 cities, with more locations expecte...

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