I remember being a student in Paris and having to wash my hair after a night out because of the ever-present smell of cigarette smoke. I got used to the constant odor and began to associate the particular smell of French tobacco with my splendid time as a student abroad. That has changed, as France has reduced smoking and banned it from many public spaces.
There is something quintessentially French, however, about lighting up in a cafe, and even though I haven’t smoked in years, I have to admit I’m tempted the minute I land in the country. Part of the reason smoking is mildly appealing in Paris is also the fact that cigarettes are inexpensive compared to the U.S.
In Russia, another European country with a strong smoking tradition, nearly 40% of the population has a nicotine habit, fueled in part by the less than $2.00 a pack cost. President Putin, a fitness freak and cheerleader for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, has just signed a law that bans smoking in all public places beginning in June of this year. Continue reading »
A travel pouch with a neck pillow, nasal spray, ear plugs, lip balm, an eye mask, eye drops, hand and face cream and lavender face hydration sits in my closet ready for a plane trip. These days I also make sure to bring a water bottle to refill once inside security.
Flying is hard on the skin and body and until now, I have tried to counteract the terrible jet lag, fatigue and muscle soreness by taking precautions, particularly on flights of more than just a few hours. I can often be found in the back of the plane doing yoga or stretching and amusing the passengers and crew.
So, it was not a huge surprise when on a cross-country flight this week, I happened to read a small article in the New York Times Science Section entitled, Really? Flying Can Cause Mountain Sickness. Continue reading »
I don’t know about you, but unless you have a streamlined, super business traveler routine for trip preparation and packing, (a la George Clooney in the film Up in the Air) you often wind up at the airport with slight back spasms.
I always travel with my yoga mat and often head to the back of the plane in-flight to stretch out and realign. Now you can actually use all that post check-in extra time at the San Francisco Airport to center yourself and work out the travel kinks. The City by the Bay has opened a yoga room in terminal two. If you don’t carry your own mat, mats are provided in the 150-square-foot room.
So, rather than kicking back with a cocktail why not salute the sun or invert a bit before your long or short haul flight? Let’s hope it’s a trend that catches on.
I hate New Year’s resolutions. I like the idea of starting fresh, having goals, plans and renewed energy, but the cliché focus on resolutions is tired, in my opinion. Yet, when I read this quote from Jay Leno, it got me thinking…
“Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average…which means, you have met your New Year’s resolution.”
As Americans waistlines expand, there are so many ripple effects. From healthcare to clothing, design considerations to travel safety, more personal bulk means changing laws, rules and preconceived notions. I have heard sad tales of folks unable to squeeze into rides at Amusement Parks, being banned from bungee jumping, even forced to purchase two plane tickets because of size. That doesn’t even take into account self limitations because of shame or inability to maneuver. But, what about weight limits for boats, buses and other vehicles? More and more, places and companies are upping the average weight limit per person. Continue reading »
Feel like some jet-setting this fall? JetBlue just made it a little easier. For $599 you can fly as much as you want from September 8 to October 8. But you have to buy the pass before August 21, and JetBlue’s release says supplies are limited. So, if you have a lot of traveling to do on JetBlue’s routes, get going.
I used to get upgraded to Business or even First Class when flying abroad with video crews for Preview Travel, the company that helped inspire Triporati. It was amazing! Massages in-flight, champagne, full beds, fresh and well rested upon arrival, I even felt like I got more oxygen! I never tired of the groovy toiletries kits and I still have some of the products these many years later. Would I ever pay for it…no. Would I ever use my frequent flyer miles to upgrade…maybe for a long haul flight.
As coach service has become worse and worse, the lure of Business and First Class seems more appealing. Yet with the cost so high, one feels like a kid looking at candy or toys through a shop window: it’s there but so out of reach. I chuckled recently when I read about how the downturn in the economy has hit business and first class travelers hardest…seems we are all flying cattle car coach these days.
Triporati Producer Gwynn Gacosta recently returned from a trip to the Philippines and has this take on the issue of “Class” travel.
Slumming It in Business Class
I tend to hate air travel and lately, there’d been little to like about it. The food, or lack thereof, is terrible; the service rude or indifferent. I hate that we in coach class aren’t allowed to use the bathrooms in business class, even if those are the ones we are seated closest to. That there is no comfortable way to sit in order to avoid the people directly in front of us, behind us, next to us. Certainly not with the leg room provided.
For my recent trip to the Philippines, I had to mentally prepare for an over 12-hour flight each way. And really, there’s really no other way to prepare for that except to accept that it’s going to be uncomfortable and hellish. I always wondered what first class and business class would be like, but I never thought I’d be so lucky to experience it.
When I arrived at the airport, a Cathay Pacific customer service rep informed me that my flight had been overbooked. “Would you mind switching to a Japan Airlines flight, which leaves at around the same time, but arrives in Manila earlier? And for your inconvenience, might we also offer you $200 spending cash as well as a coupon voucher for a free business class upgrade and access to our business class lounge for your next Cathay Pacific flight?”
Uh…is this a trick question? Continue reading »
Well, maybe I don’t actually “love” United Airlines, but for years I’ve been a loyal customer, choosing them over other airlines going to the same place, even, in some cases, when their flights weren’t as convenient as their competitors’. But my experience with them today has made me question my judgment.
It’s often the little things that make a difference. When I checked in online for my flight from San Francisco to Boston I discovered that the one bag I planned to check would cost me $15. I haven’t been living in a cave so I knew about the plans various airlines announced last year about charging for checked bags, but this was the first time the fee had been applied to me. “Nonrefundable,” the note on the computer screen said. “Forget it,” I muttered, figuring I’d wait until I got to the airport to decide whether to check or carry on. Continue reading »
I was understandably jet-lagged and weary when I boarded the evening Delta flight the other night from New York’s JFK to San Francisco International because I’d just arrived on a 12-hour flight from Cairo. So perhaps what I experienced on the flight home was colored by the fugue state I was falling into. But I don’t think so.
The flight was 1/3 full, and of that 1/3, at least half seemed to be friends who were scattered about the plane. They were jabbering in a language I couldn’t identify. My best guess was Russian, second best was some other Slavic language, third best was Hebrew but I’ve heard enough Hebrew to be pretty sure it wasn’t that.
These people kept getting up and wandering around the plane no matter what was going on, starting as soon as we pushed back from the gate. One guy wore a fur-lined cap and overcoat as if he were in Red Square, and he paced up and down the aisle throughout the flight. Another woman did the same, berating (or seeming to) some other guy seated up front. They paid no attention to the seatbelt sign, the flight attendants’ warnings, the captain’s announcements. Continue reading »
2009 has only just begun and few feel capable of predicting how the struggling economy will affect travel, beyond deep discounts. The landscape has changed and we all need to be on our toes to get the best deals. I came across an article on the Baltimore Sun website which offered five helpful New Year’s resolutions for the savvy vacationer:
I will beware of bankruptcies.
I will figure on fees.
I will get an edge through e-mail.
I will diligently monitor the U.S. dollar.
I will plan ahead to get a passport.
Did you know you might be charged for more legroom on flights? Another obvious, but often overlooked issue, the fact that the fluctuating dollar could drastically raise or reduce the cost of a hotel room abroad. Or, that on June 1, tighter border rules take effect. Most Americans returning by sea or land from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean will need a passport, a passport card or other secure document. Check out the article: Vow to make the most of your 2009 travel dollar to find out more about this list of travel tips for 2009.
January is a time for the dreaded dance of the New Year’s resolution. Gyms are packed, nicotine patches in short supply, folks are scrimping and saving and many look to their waistlines for resolution inspiration. For many, the battle of the bulge still reigns supreme on 2009 to do lists. There is no better time to re-evaluate your diet and exercise routine.
So, I read with interest, a buried article on the MSNBC site, with the headline entitled: Indian airline fires 9 overweight crew members. It is no surprise to me that India is catching up on the obesity epidemic as many Indians have moved into the middle class. In general, weight in India is often a sign of prosperity. In fact, diabetes is a huge concern in a country, once known for famine, where now 35 million people and counting are suffering from the preventable disease. Interestingly, all the attendants fired were women and even though India has laws aimed to protect against discrimination based on factors including caste, gender, and religion, there are no specific ones about weight. Food for thought.