Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ikea Hotels, Summer Weather Delays and Controversial Seating Policies Aloft

Today's travel news items all seems to revolve around upended expectations.

In Australia, the Twitterverse is abuzz with conversations about whether men should be allowed to sit next to unaccompanied minors on airplanes. The issue came to light when a firefighter was asked to exchange seats with a woman on a Virgin Australia flight, after being placed next to two unaccompanied young boys. The move made him feel like he was being accused of pedophilia, and his complaints were picked up and echoed widely on the internet. Instead of lauding Virgin's policy as common sense, most of the respondents are finding it discriminatory.

In response, Virgin Australia has promised to review its policies. Qantas, which has the same policy, is keeping mum at this point. For CNN's coverage of the issue, click here.

The next tidbit comes from do-it-yourself giant IKEA. The furniture chain has decided to take a cue from all the people napping on the beds in their showrooms and start a chain of affordable hotels . Executives have told Reuters that the chain is hoping to have 100 hotels built, in important cities across Europe in the next few years.The upended expectation here? That you won't have to build your own bed and night table before hitting the sack for the night. In fact, IKEA is saying that it won't even be using any of its furniture in the hotels. Huh? For the Reuters piece, click here.

And as weather always upends one's expectations, you may want to click over to this report on the fact that summer patterns can be as troublesome as winter storms, when it comes to airline delays. 2012, with its record heat waves and vicious thunderstorms, has been particularly problematic. Biggest snafu: the US Airways jet that got stuck, literally, on the tarmac in DC as its wheels had created too much of a dent in the hot asphalt.

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