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Another New Fee, Courtesy of United Airlines

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 08/21/2018, 4:00 PM

About five years ago, Saturday Night Live scored some laughs with a skit that parodied "priority boarding" announcements at the airport gate. A uniformed Tina Fey and Taran Killam stood behind a podium and called upward of 20 different categories of flyers before they got to "Group 2" as their SNL castmates grew comically agitated waiting to board. Back then, it seemed like the madness at the gate...

Arthur Frommer: National Parks Devotees Can Utter a (Brief) Sigh of Relief

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/25/2018, 12:00 AM

In the early months of the Trump administration, it was widely rumored that the new head of the Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, would propose a doubling of the entrance fees to some 100 national parks that charge admission.   The reaction to that drastic proposal was so negative, and from both sides of the aisle in Congress, that it was since assumed that a far milder increase would be ...

New Zealand to Start Taxing Tourists

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/20/2018, 5:30 AM

The price of a vacation in New Zealand is about to go up.  The country's government has announced plans to charge a new tax on tourists, expected to go into effect in the middle of 2019. International visitors staying less than 12 months will be charged somewhere in the range of NZ$25–35 (US$17–24). Citizens of Australia and most Pacific Island Forum countries will be exempt from the fee.  Acco...

"White-Collar Trickery": Arthur Frommer Blasts Las Vegas for Hidden Fees

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 05/30/2018, 4:45 PM

By now, most Americans are aware of the “resort fees” that numerous greedy hotels add to their bills, even though the hotel in question is by no means a “resort.”  Most of us simply groan in exasperation at this bit of white-collar trickery—and then we pay the padded bill.   But would you believe that in Las Vegas nowadays, numerous hotels, restaurants and nightspots are now routinely adding...

Arthur Frommer: A Journalist Produces the Definitive Report on Disney Cruises

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 03/26/2018, 12:15 PM

Most parents are aware of the ever-expanding Disney cruise line, which enables them to join their young children on a sailing designed to fascinate. Disney currently operates four big cruise ships, and two more are reaching completion in European shipyards. Impartial descriptions of those cruises are hard to come by. Persons who write for the newspapers are loathe to criticize the powerful Disn...

Disney World Now Charges for Parking at Hotels, Decreasing Their Value

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 03/14/2018, 4:00 PM

It used to be one of the great courtesies of staying in a Walt Disney World resort hotel: You got free parking, and then you could take Disney transportation for free. It was touted as one of the perks and a big incentive to choose a Disney hotel over a room located outside the resort property's gates. Since Disney hotels are two or three times as much as a room of comparable quality a mile away, ...

Resort Fees Are a Tax Dodge: Why They're Destructive for Us All

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 02/21/2018, 12:00 AM

Americans despise resort fees. But in a shockingly short span of time, about a decade, we became blasé about them. Appallingly, the people once reknowned for feisty individualism and a testy spirit of fairness have rolled over like docile lap dogs—we sigh and pay hidden charges as if staying in hotels had always been this way. It wasn't. This is not normal. Can you remember how terrible you felt ...

Now You Can Fly Round-Trip to Europe for €399—with a Catch

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 01/11/2018, 12:00 AM

First, U.S. domestic airlines introduced Basic Economy fares so their rates would appear more competitive with low-cost carriers in Web searches. Now the transatlantic airlines are stripping down their benefits to compete with low-cost airlines. First it was Icelandair, which came up with Economy Light, which only allows for a single carry-on up to 22 pounds (10kg)—no checked bags permitted. TAP ...

Royal Caribbean Increases the Daily Fee Used to Tip Staff

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/29/2017, 12:00 AM

For the third time in three years, Royal Caribbean Cruises is hiking up its "automatic gratuity"—the term for the service fee that lines recommend each passenger pays per day during a cruise. They make this recommendation by automatically adding the tip to your bill. To raise or lower the amount—or strike it altogether for those who prefer to tip housekeeping staff, restaurant servers, and other ...

Arthur Frommer's Travel Resolutions for the New Year

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 12/28/2017, 12:00 AM

Because they often seek to regulate all of human activity, I find most New Year’s Resolutions to be rather unsatisfying. Here’s an attempt to limit these rules to the world of travel, which—to me—is badly in need of a little moralizing at this moment in our history.   So here goes. In the year ahead:    I shall fight, as a citizen and as a voter, to preserve the right of every American...

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