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Travel Log: May 2004 Archives

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Travel to Saudi Arabia Ill Advised Following Attacks

Following the weekend attacks in which 22 foreign nationals were killed, the UK's Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travlel to Saudi Arabia. A 25-hour standoff was ended yesterday when Saudi security forces stormed the residential compound for western nationals in Al Khobar.

Steve Hall | May 31, 2004 | Advice | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Extreme Ironing, New International Sporting Craze


Okay, this has little to do with travel, per se, but we thought you'd enjoy this. Were it early April, we'd assume this story was a joke, but as it's late May and the source is the New York Times, we guess it's for real: extreme ironing. That is, ironing (as in, taking wrinkles out of shirts) in such locales as dangling above gorges, skiing down the French Alsp, suspended above raging rapids, etc. Pictured here, the founders of the sport, Phil Shaw and Matthew Patrick, are ironing while strapped to a World War II duck boat in downtown Boston. Lovers of the "sport" engaged in the first Extreme Ironing World Championship in Germany in 2002.

Notably, the word "irony" does not appear in this story. Make sure to click on the slide show on the NYT for full ridiculous details.

Rick Bruner | May 22, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Be Nice, Fly Free

Delta's new discount airline Song is undertaking a peculiar promotion for the month of June: get spotted doing something nice -- both while flying on the airline (such as giving up your seat so a family can sit together) or just around your community (well, one of those where Song flies, anyway) -- and a member of Song's flight crew may just offer you a ticket to fly free. CNN has details.

Rick Bruner | May 20, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Advice for Business Travelers

The New York Times reviews three new books aimed at helping business travelers navigate the frustrating world of business travel. Peter Greenberg's "Hotel Secrets From the Travel Detective" offers an array of pointers to make your hotel stay more pleasant, not the least of which is never to order eggs benedict from room service. "Never Again: A Self-Defense Guide for the Flying Public" is considerably less fun, literally offering a self-defense guide for those flying commercial. And finally, "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" gives hints to making small business travel more pleasant (sometimes the cheapest flight isn't worth it.)

Andras Revesz | May 18, 2004 | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Best Loyalty Program Credit Cards

The always useful Webflyer blog has a great column on loyalty program credit cards. The piece offers a nice overview of the cards that are available and the perks & costs associated with each. In case you were wondering, the author recommends the Starwood American Express carda as the best deal.

Andras Revesz | May 17, 2004 | Permanent link | Comments (0)

Finally...Cheap Hotels in London. Maybe.

Flights to London have become extremely inexpensive in the offseason---often below $200 round trip. However, travelers generally receive a shock when they try to seek reasonably priced lodging in London. Not anymore. Our friends at Easygroup (the company who has brought us European low fare carrier EasyJet, among other Easyoperations) are considering launching a London hotel that will cost, get this, GBP 5 per night (about $8, though if the dollar keeps dropping, that'll be about $674 soon). Looking for frills? Your local homeless shelter will have more amenities. But, if you're looking for a 10' X 9' room made of plastic without any towels, toiletries, TV, telephone or carpeting for $8, this is your place.

Andras Revesz | May 14, 2004 | Permanent link | Comments (0)

American Airlines Jumps on Low-Carb Bandwagon

As we reported a couple of months ago, several airlines and hotels are responding to the popularity of low-carb diets with high protein meals on their menus. Now American Airlines sends us an email to say they have made similar changes to their menu, although they're so far just nibbling at the edges of the trend with some domestic first-class breakfast options.

Their email notes, "On May 1, all of American's domestic first-class flights began to offer selected breakfast items high in protein and low in carbohydrates to accommodate the needs of its health-conscious customers.... American will look at expanding the high-protein/low-carbohydrate meal service option this summer after it reviews the success of this initial roll out."

The airline notes that travelers with special food requirements can call 800 433-7300 to make requests before departure. They also provide point to their special meals page on their web site, where they describe such delicious-sounding dining experiences as

  • "Bland/Soft...also known as the ulcer diet"

  • "Gluten Free...also known as gliadin-free, non-tropical sprue, Celiac disease, wheat free, gluten restricted diet"

  • "Vegetarian (Lacto-Ovo)"

  • And much more...

Mmmm, bland/soft... I wonder if has heard about this yet.

Rick Bruner | May 11, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (1)

Alaska Air Introduces Personal Video Player


Alaska Air has introduced personal digital entertainment systems on their flights for a $10 fee (free in first class). Matt Haughey, the creator of the popular group weblog MetaFilter, reviews the system on another of his sites, PVRblog (PVR standing for "personal video recorder").

Overall, he seemed pleased with the system, despite its relatively small size (about 7" screen). He writes:

The amount of content on the device was more that I would have guessed could fit. There were nine full length movies (three recently in theaters, the other six were common video rentals from the past 2-3 years), three TV shows (including the Simpsons!), and a selection of 10-15 songs in ten different genres. That's roughly 15 hours of video and about 6 hours of music.

The screen was bright and crisp, and looked great in daytime light and during action sequences.

Rick Bruner | May 10, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (1)

NPR Audio Postcard: Cruise Ship Trade Show

Chris Elliott, a travel expert we enjoy reading (see links to his sites in our Recommended Resources list in the right menu), reports for National Public Radio from the Seatrade Convention in Miami, a trade show for owners and operators of cruise ships. Gives you a view of the cruise industry you'll never see from on board. "Think of it as a giant shopping mall for cruise ship operators." Buy everything from the propellors to the captain's buttons. Elliott interviews makers of power turbine, bilge systems, automated towel folders and shrimp salad machines.

Rick Bruner | May 3, 2004 | News | Permanent link | Comments (0)


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