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Oct 19th 2010 11:32AM In a world where there is near-total pricing competitiveness and transparency (e.g., Kayak, Expedia, et al), the airlines have discovered that it's profitable to tack-on hidden and compulsory "gotcha" fees that can be levied on customers at the last-minute, without much notice, and in a situation that borders on extortion ("pay up now, or take a bus").
Soon they be charging for "extras" like a bottom seat cushion, a back seat cushion, and admission tickets for the rest rooms.
As for change fees, I have no problem with those since they're (usually) completely at the discretion of the customer.
Sep 10th 2010 12:23PM Anyone who's traveled on a cramped third-world bus or ferry with a $3.00 ticket knows this is simply not true. Politeness has nothing to do with money or the price of the ticket, and in my experience people of all walks generally strive to be helpful (see Carl Hoffman and "The Lunatic Express").
So in my view this alleged deluge of "rude poor people" traveling on airlines seems to be a great big straw man.
What is most certainly true is that the airlines have resorted to treating passengers like 32.5 cubic foot meatbags.
Sep 9th 2010 4:18PM The next "extras" will be seat belts and seat padding.
10 years ago that might have been a joke, just like "What, you want to check luggage!?!?! Ho ho ho! That'll be $40.00 per bag!"
To the airlines, we are all just stupid meatbags who take up 30.25 cubic feet of stowage space.
I utterly despise all domestic airlines.
Sep 9th 2010 3:55PM The video hosting site LiveLeak is default blocked by some web screening firewalls, can you host it it somewhere else?
Sep 5th 2010 4:02PM "But with glaciers melting all over the globe, it seems that they have retreated enough in the Columbia Icefields to reveal Holland's body at last. "
Gadling really needs to be a bit more careful with these bogus global warming attributions, I've noticed several of them over the last few months.
I checked all of the local Alberta news accounts and not one of them attributes this discovery to "glaciers melting [and] retreating."
In fact, in the local Edmonton Journal, Parks Canada a public safety specialist Steve Blake "said Holland's remains likely spent the last 21 years buried under mounds of snow or hidden inside a crevasse, waiting to be freed by warmer weather." The report also notes that hikers "found his body lying on top of the ice, apparently carried down the mountainside by melting snow."
Snow. Melting snow. Summer.
The body was found on August 15, around the height of summer in the Canadian Rockies.
Please refrain from the unnecessary global warming attributions and asides in future Gadling reports. Especially when they are pure editorial conjecture and not actually supported by the facts and common sense.
Sep 1st 2010 3:52PM It's not like there are no vegetarians in the Theravada Buddhist nation of Thailand. It's a pretty common thing.
Smile, do a wai, point at the food, and shake your head no. They'll understand.
Aug 23rd 2010 3:33PM Medex is also pretty good, I've used them (fortunately not for evacs). International SOS has also been around for a long while.
When one is abroad, a lot depends on the local representatives (doctors) affiliated with these companies. And a lot might possibly depend on someone else knowing that you have evac/med insurance so that they can inform the local embassy or a local provider.
I once had to help another person abroad and somehow figured out that he had emergency med/evac insurance (he was near-comatose and I guess I found the ID card in his wallet). But it was quite difficult to get the local rep (a doctor) to respond because "Why should I? He's already in the hospital." I had to threaten this local physician with bad publicity and a report to the U.S. embassy and to his own company to force him off his duff and to come and attend to his patient/client. He was not happy with me in the slightest, nor I with him.
On the other hand I've met some of the medical and logistics personnel of these companies while abroad and they seem very professional and committed.
Serious medical issues can come up while abroad, I've seen it happen repeatedly. Especially in underdeveloped countries, this can be a very big deal. And your own embassy is more likely to lend a hand (even guaranteeing the bills) if they know you have reputable travel insurance. I've seen that happen too.
Aug 14th 2010 8:20AM I've read the original post and many of the comments here, and I'm not sure what the problem is, except that there are some really immature and naive bloggers out there who believe they are the first people to travel anywhere, ever.
Nothing like having a 20-something lecture the world about what is and is not "genuine travel."
What a joke.
Aug 9th 2010 6:38AM The International Labor Organization and other institutions often conduct surveys about national holiday time, vacation time, and productivity.
The survey above is fairly consistent with most of those, which typically show the USA with the least holiday/vacation and yet in the top rankings for productivity (although typically behind a few Scandinavian countries).
Even though Japan is fairly notorious for it's "salaryman" work ethos, it's usually somewhat behind the USA.
The portrayal of the USA as a nation of lazy unproductive couch potatoes is simply NEVER borne about by the actual measured statistics.
Aug 6th 2010 12:16PM >>>"After all, police and firefighters are trained in dealing with emergencies, making them inherently more qualified than the flight attendant candidates airlines pull off the street."
And there's also the fact that U.S. airlines are rapidly discarding all amenities, pleasantries, and basic courtesies from air travel, and so it's increasingly sensible for them to have ex-cops and ex-firemen to control the captive passengers in the hostile, aggressive, and very unpleasant air travel milieu which they're creating.