Monday, August 2, 2010

A Hodge Podge of Travel News and Speculation

Play a game online, win a free trip

One of my favorite travel writers Jen Leo posted an item today about an addictive-sounding new website called A gaming site, with avatars, complicated plots, quizzes and more, it rewards the player who racks up the most points with travel (according to Jen prizes have included trips to Australia, Costa Rica and Hawaii).  Which is a nice twist, because you'd assume that the people who play these games obsessively enough to actually accrue a lot of points probably never leave their homes. I'd file this under travel site/social experiment.

Carry-On Baggage Fees Now a Reality
So far, there have been no news flashes about riots breaking out at airport terminals. Seems travelers are so inured to the indignities of air travel that they took Spirit's carry-on fees ($30 online in advance; $45 at the gate) with nary a whimper. They went into effect yesterday, August 1. (A day that will live in infamy! Well, kinda....).

Chelsea Clinton's Honeymoon

 As the world now knows, Chelsea Clinton wore a sparkly-waisted Vera Wang gown at her Hudson Valley wedding this past Saturday. What most don't know is that that night her groom apparently told her where she'd be going on their honeymoon. Yes, it was such a well-guarded secret that even the bride was informed only on a need-to-know basis.

Obviously, the venue will have to be a bit of a fortress, as Clinton has shown herself to be paparazzi-averse over the years (during the campaign she caused a mini-scandal by refusing to speak with a 9-year-old reporter who was on the job for Scholastic). So where will she end up? Here's comes the speculative part of this blog.

Necker Island, the private isle owned by Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson might have made the short list, simply because its, well, a private island. But I'm guessing the lack of intellectually-stimulating pursuits there probably sunk that choice (she's a well-known brainiac, holding two masters degrees.)

Another guess: maybe George Clooney came to the rescue and offered his Italian villa to the couple. He's been doing that so often this summer, I'm guessing he might be considering opening up a B&B.

They likely wouldn't have dared go to the UK, where the paparrazzi is arguably even more aggressive than it is in the USA. But one of Ireland's castle hotels might do the trick. It should be one with enough acreage to keep out the press. Clinton wrote her thesis in college on Irish politics, so my guess is she may still have a soft spot for the Emerald Isle. Or maybe I'm just projecting: I personally would love an Irish honeymoon.If I weren't already married, that is (ahem).

(Photo by Bob B. Brown)


  1. Re: Spirit's carry-on fees

    That has been playing out for a while now.
    Consumers have shown that they are very price elastic by buying flights with the cheapest published fare (and understandably so since plane tickets represent a large part of their travel budget).

    In response, airlines try to find ways to improve their profits ; first by cutting down amenities (less snacks, less pillows ...) and by and large consumers were still booking flights with the lowest published fare regardless of the level of service.

    Since that was working, airlines have been adding fees for things which have traditionally been provided for free (first check in bags, now carryon bags).

    Now, the one response that I would expect, and that I have not seen to date is for major flight search engines to update their forms and results to include these additional fees so that consumers can make a purchase decision based on true cost rather than published fare.

  2. You're absolutely right Olivier! From your lips to Kayak or Expedias ears. I think if that happened we might see a bit more sanity in the way air is priced.